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2 Essential Guidelines to Create a New Habit

by Jo-Ann Downey

in Manifesting

Very Smart Girls will celebrate its 10th Birthday on July 27, 2019!  In honor of this milestone, I will provide an update on my first 4 blogs- There is No Such Thing as a Table for Two, What is Wellness?, An Effective Way to be Present- Do Not Compare, and 2 Essential Guidelines to Create a New Habit.

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2 Essential Guidelines to Create a New Habit

Do you want to be happier?  Do you have ideas on what could make you happier, but are unable to start doing them?  Do you feel like you are in a rut?  If you focus on what you truly want, you can create new habits that you do automatically.

What is a Habit?

Habits are behaviors we repeat over time.  You are responsible for your behaviors and for your habits.  Think about it.  Be very conscious that you are personally empowered to establish new habits.  Habits are created by doing the same thing over and over again; repetition is very powerful.

Creating a New Habit Guideline #1:  Make it Personal

Create a specific, achievable and measurable goal (the standard stuff) and make your goal positive and personal.  A positive goal states what you want versus what you do not want.  A personal goal is unique to you, where you are today.  It is non-conflicting and reasonable/achievable for you.

Let’s say you want to manifest the habit of drinking a certain volume of water each day.  We’ll start with the standard 64 ounces of water per day concept.  If something inside of you believes that 64 ounces of water is too much, then you have a conflict with your goal and you are setting yourself up for failure.   

If you drink 32 ounces of water per day, 64 ounces is a real stretch and likely unreasonable.  For you, for now, this goal does not pass your personal test.  You could see how 40 ounces feels for you.   A stretch is good; too much of a stretch is not good.

As a bonus, add how you want to feel as you focus on your goal!

Examples:

Room for improvement: I don’t want to drink so much soda
Input: not specific; not measurable; states the goal from a negative perspective, or what you do not want versus the positive, or what you do want

Better: I am drinking my target amount of water each day
Input: not specific; not measurable

Even Better:  I am drinking 64 ounces of water each day
Input: very good

Best: I am joyfully drinking 64 ounces of water each day
Input: awesome because of adding how you want to feel (joyful)

Creating a New Habit Guideline #2:   Repetition for 33 Consecutive Days

To manifest a new habit, or change your behavior, you need to practice the new habit over a period of time.  Even if you learn and adapt very quickly, practicing over a period of time will allow you to master the habit.

Some experts say that it takes between 21-45 days to change a habit; others say 30-45 days.  I split the difference and suggest a 33-day process.  Specifically, practice and experience the new habit for 33 consecutive days.  If you miss a day, start the 33-day process again. 

Creating a New Habit Summary

Step #1: Clarify your goal- make it specific, achievable, measurable, positive, and personal (non-conflicting and reasonable for you)

Step #2:  Take out your calendar every night and put a mark, such as a star, on each day you achieve your goal.  If you miss a day, then start the 33 consecutive day process again. 

P.S.  Feel free to extend, or repeat, your 33-day process.  I often do.

10 Years Later –Inner Goals and The New Two Do List™

During the last 10 years my goals and intentions have become focused on the feelings that I want to experience, are directional versus specific, and have a longer time frame (often 1 year or more).  

When I focus on my inner goals (e.g. being present) my outer, or physical world, goals (e.g. writing) are easier to achieve.  Consciously combining inner and outer goals, in equal amounts, is personally and professionally productive.  The more relaxed I am, the more flexible and creative I am. In this state of mind, I am aware of more choices and I make better decisions.

When I have a lot of activity in my life I simplify and consolidated tasks.  As shared in “The New Two Do List- Part Two”, I decided to pick 1-3 goals To Do each day, relax more, and trust that the rest would easily get done.  Guess what happened?  I was more comfortable with my To Do’s (my top 1-3, and others), everything important was getting done, I trusted more (myself, others, the universe), and I began to realize the quality and energy of my daily top commitments was increasing and expanding.  For example, from “going to the gym” to “nurturing my body through exercise.”  In addition, I became gentler with myself and others. After all, others may have their top 1-3 To Do’s, and I might not be on their list!

You may want to read “There is No Such Thing as a Table for Two – 10 Years Later”, What is Wellness? – 10 Years Later”, “An Effective Way to be Present- Do Not Compare – 10 Years Later”, “The New Two Do List- Part One” , “The New Two Do List- Part Three”

photo credit: Andreanna

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