Need To Develop A New Habit? This Works
Has your doctor said you absolutely must start exercising? Do you need to start making more sales calls or contacting more client leads because your bank balance is distressing you? Whatever habit you need to add, I have a nearly foolproof method for developing it and making it stick.
You’ve likely heard or read that one way to incorporate a new habit into your life is to tie it to one you already have. I shower every morning. The past few years I’ve made sure to do a few body weight exercises before getting in. This has worked fairly well. Unless I have to hurry unexpectedly or really don’t feel well, I get them done. I probably do them about 85–90% of the time. It took me quite a while to get this consistent. There were starts and stops at the beginning and sometimes they still feel like a chore, but I get them done most of the time.
A couple of months ago the declining balance in my chequing account made it obvious I needed to make many more sales calls and texts. I had no system. I was just doing them whenever I was able to force myself. I found contacting cold client leads kind of stressful and didn’t really like doing it.
I knew other people were able to do it so there was no reason I couldn’t. I just needed an approach that didn’t rely on willpower because honestly, I don’t have a whole lot of it.
Then I thought about the one thing that gets me out of bed every morning. It’s not coffee, it’s my phone.
I used to have a terrible problem compulsively using my phone. The first piece I ever wrote on Medium is about that. I’ve gotten it under control by taking social media sites off of it and using a timer to limit the time I spend. This works quite well. I still enjoy entertaining myself with it, but it no longer takes over my life. Even though it isn’t out of control anymore, it’s definitely still a strong habit. Phones are designed and engineered to be habit forming.
So I decided to use my strong, but unproductive phone habit to create a new productive work habit.