How To Create New Habits (And Watch Me Create One Live)

woman deciding whether to eat healthy food or sweet cookies she craving

This is a test.

To see how much I can furiously write within 20 minutes. (A habit of my friend and bestselling author, Mike Harrington).

The starting point: according to Grammarly I already type more weekly than 99% of it’s users, and that is without a habit of writing every morning.

Oh snap.

The progress will still be massive and immediate because that is what happens once you are consistent at any skill. 

That is what has happened with any skill that I’ve ever developed. For example, I became an awesome salsa dancer at one point because I did it constantly. By contrast, I’ve done half a dozen types of martial arts completely randomly over the past several years (longer than dancing in fact) however I am still incredibly mediocre, if not just plain bad.

Fortunately, with martial arts at least you can power through it if you are fit, which has (usually) kept me from getting totally demolished 🙂

However, I have had some Tae Kwon Do guys kick me in the face a few times. It’s really hard to see those kicks coming! But I digress…

The goal: to get to the point where I can knock out a reasonably high quality blog post within 20 minutes. Of course there will be some extra time spent formatting, linking, etc. (goal is only 10 minutes to keep in under 30 minutes total) however this will allow me to be more consistent with posting – something I have been wanting to do for a long time.

Even if it take a couple days and 20 minute sessions to knock out a post, no matter because the point is consistency.

And that is the power of habits.

I am aiming for the following outcomes:

Increased writing speed, quality, and overall skills at writing (practice makes perfect)

Regular output of content via the written word. Up til now I have been inconsistent in this modality. Time to change that!

I finally get to figure out how to use that Scrivener program I downloaded way back when. Yay! In fact, I just realized that I think I’ve bought it twice and never used it…

[5 minutes in – my wrists already feel uncomfortable from the fast writing]

The interesting thing is I have no idea how or if I plan to use this post at all.

In the back of my head, I am thinking maybe it would make for an interesting “live” experiment to post what I create daily as a blog post series so people can read whatever I create, but also observe the development of a new habit. 

We tend to have unrealistic expectations of things, and when it comes to habits I believe we tend to be overly pessimistic/unrealistic for the level of effort it takes to change a habit.

It is true that it CAN take a ton of effort to change a habit, but only if you do it incorrectly. 

Habits are supposed to make your life easier, and in fact there are ways to make your life easier WHILE you are changing your habits.

Here are some strategies for creating winning habits as easily as possible:

  1. Focus on small but consistent habits – a good example is to floss one tooth
  2. Don’t get overwhelmed – I’ve made the mistake of trying to start 5 new habits at once. This. Never. Works. Do one at a time.
  3. Connect new habits to something you already do – if you are going to floss one tooth as your new habit, then add it to the current habit you (hopefully) already do of brushing your teeth every morning/evening
  4. Celebrate your wins – give yourself positive feedback every time you do your new habit. Examples would be an awesome dance, eating a small piece of chocolate, tindering for 5 minutes, or whatever else gets your rocks off.
  5. Track progress – use the app to stay on track and monitor progress

Check out the Tiny Habits methodology for more on this simple, but ingenious, method.

[Boom: 20 minutes over. Good stopping point too!]

Total word count in 20 minutes: 676 words

Overall level of coherence: Medium

Flow (opposite of scatterbrained-ness): Medium-low

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