The 3 essential parts to building a new habit

New habits hatching soon...

New habits hatching soon...

Tomorrow is the big day.  The day when we start doing SOMETHING for 30 days.  I've been through this process several times, and I don't want you to get frustrated and give up.  So, here are the essentials to persevering for 30 days:

1 - Make it so easy you CAN'T NOT do it.  

If you want to start running and think you can run for 30 minutes, run for 10.  Or if you doubt you can run at all, make it your goal to put your shoes on and walk outside.  Build up your confidence and momentum with little wins.  (And I bet if you put your shoes on and walk outside, you will at least run down the street.)

When I first started sewing every day, I would make myself go downstairs and sew something.  I didn't even have to finish it.  Just for a few minutes.  Even just one line of stitches.  

2 - Tie your new habit to an old habit.

This is often called a "trigger".  You probably experience "triggers" (or reminders) all day with habits you already have.  Going to bed might trigger teeth brushing.  Boredom might trigger internet surfing.  We've gotten into the habit of watching a TV show as a family right after dinner, so now dinner triggers TV.  

You can dream all you want about developing a new habit, but if you don't decide WHEN you are going to do it, it will never get done.  I have found one of the easiest times to do a new habit is first thing in the morning.  About 10 years ago, I decided that I wanted to read the whole Bible straight through in a year.  I bought a Bible divided up by days, so I thought it would be easy to remember to read every day.  But I would forget about it - for weeks at a time.  I gave up.  Then 5 years ago, I decided I would try again.  I set my alarm for 30 minutes earlier than usual and read in the morning.  I thought it would be difficult to get into the habit, because I need a lot of sleep.  But it was actually pretty easy - and easy to remember.  I've been doing it every morning for 5 years.

3 - Give yourself a reward.

I usually give myself several rewards - ONE during the activity and ONE when I accomplish the activity.  I try to make the habit itself as fun and rewarding as possible.  I've told you before about how I listen to podcasts while I sew.  That made the time more fun when the actual activity (sewing) was not fun.   I always try to make it a point to "celebrate" the completion of a garment whether it's showing it to someone or posting it on my blog or even just saying - "Great job, Meredith!"  Now that I'm getting better at sewing, the sewing itself is becoming rewarding.  

For the next 30 days, I'm going to draw.  To make it more fun, my children are going to do it with me.  Then at the end of the 30 days, I'm going to buy myself a fashion illustration book.  REWARD and REWARD.

So, what are you going to do?  Tell us in the comments.