August is all about Habits.
This week, we take a look at how to standardize habits so that they become ritual.
Master the Habit of Showing Up
Simply starting is perhaps the most important—and difficult—part of the habit-forming process.
More often than not, many of us will start by looking at the desired end-result and mapping backwards how we get there. When we do this, we often compare ourselves to others already at the finish line.
When we use others’ current success as our baseline, though, we often create a barrier for ourselves. And it’s the barrier that prevents us from reaching our ultimate goal.
Comparing your current situation to someone else who has already achieved success can make you feel overwhelmed; it can even prevent you from ever getting started at all. Their current, successful system may seem unachievable from where you’re starting.
This comes in the form of avoidance.
Avoiding getting outside and running (or walking) because you need the best, new running shoes and you can’t buy them right now. Not so—no best or new shoes needed.
Same with a gym membership—no membership needed; use the great outdoors (or indoors, even).
You might argue that to get to optimal health, you have to buy grass-fed beef only and, therefore, you can’t afford to be healthy. Instead, find other ways of being nutritionally healthy: drinking more water, eating less before bed, sticking to the produce aisle in the grocery store.
There are many arguments we can make for ourselves as to why we can’t get to where we want to be. Often, it begins by comparing ourselves to others; then, we pick out parts of their routine that we can’t apply to our own life.
Instead, determine what is in your power. Decide what you can do at this stage of the journey to propel yourself forward.
Figure out what’s needed in your current environment to simply get started. This is showing up.
And by starting small—with the bare minimum of what’s needed—you’re already on the right track. Think smaller when you’re starting out so you can master the very fundamental habit of simply showing up.
How do you identify what’s needed?
Consider your current process. Maybe you don’t have one in place; even still, consider your daily practices. What is currently not serving you? What do you typically do in a day that, fundamentally, you know impedes your progress?
Perhaps it’s not a matter of what's holding you back; maybe it’s simply a matter of adding on to what is already working.
Either way, it’s about making your end-result more achievable. How can you do that? Here’s where you determine that first habit—either adding or removing it—that will help you succeed.
Next, make it easy to do—or not do.
What would make it easier for you to add more movement to your daily routine? How could you more easily fall and stay asleep each night? How can you make eating more vegetables easier?
To ensure you get in more activity, lay out your exercise clothes and shoes the night before.
Set an alarm one hour before you’d like to fall asleep—then, when the alarm goes off, begin your nightly bedtime routine.
Opt for the pre-cut vegetables at the grocery store to save you effort and energy.
When you find ways to make your new habit easier to implement, you are that much more likely to follow through with it. Decide on the new habit you would like to create for yourself—then, determine the easiest way to ritualize it.
This is how you standardize your process.