You are who you are and do the things that you do because of your habits. Think about how you brush your teeth, the order you shower your body parts, tie your shoes or how you get dressed. There are even bigger learned behaviors that are habits, like driving your car or checking email every time it dings.
Not convinced you are the sum of your habits? Bring awareness to your day and see how many things you do as routine: get coffee, arrange desk, open social media, etc. There are things you do each day that do not require you to think, you just do them. That power is what we are going to harness to create a new behavior or change an existing one.
First, look at the problem. Have you ever thought or heard yourself say: “I work better under pressure”, “Forces beyond my control are keeping me from doing this”, “I need to be in the mood to do this”? Those are all excuses for your procrastination problem. You CAN do this. You are in control of you.
No more excuses for completing the things you really want to complete and getting your life into the shape you want it to be. There are three power words I want you to harness. Reminder-Routine-Reward. These three words can become your mantra to a successful life dong exactly what you want in a way that becomes part of what makes you, you.
So, you are clear. . . developing a new habit is NOT about an exercise in self-control; finding a new dose of willpower; a lack of motivation; or, remembering to do it. It is about creating a structure that WILL make you successful. Once in place you have the tools to make any desire a reality in your own life.
This is your selected trigger for the new behavior. It can be a timer, an event, an object placed strategically. You need a Plan, write it down. You need a reason for your goal, write it down.
When I was going through a new nutrition plan I set alarms for my supplements, planned meals for the week and drank water at scheduled times. My power reason was to get off high blood pressure medicine. Now I live my nutrition plan, have lost 50 pounds, and don’t think about what I lost (bread) but what I have gained (stamina).
Give yourself a strong reminder. Something that will trigger the behavior.
When the reminder goes off, it is that time of day, or you see your trigger object, just do the behavior. There is no thinking here. Don’t allow your procrastination excuses take over. Prioritize it and be consistent. Do it no matter what.
This will only happen if you have made it a small behavior. Don’t think you will solve all your problems in one big action. These behaviors are small and doable. One behavior at a time for 30 days and you will see an increase in, “This is what I do”. It will become part of your ‘MO’. Then you will start to see progress.
Make it something positive, say it aloud and repeat it often. It can be something tangible like a new pair of shoes or more stamina to complete a project. Acknowledge your improvements, celebrate how you feel. Make it enjoyable so you will continue repeating the behavior.
You may also need to know the pain. What are the consequences if you do not continue to follow your plan? Write down the negative things that could happen. Knowing the downsides can give you motivation as well.
Make your goals personal. Harness the power of Reminder-Routine-Reward. Yes, there will be days of doubt and frustration. Allow yourself to be imperfect. When those negative, procrastination thoughts threaten to take over, reframe them. Turn each into an affirmation of your determination.
Remember, it is the small changes in just one area of your life that reverberate to all the other parts. Once you have the 3R’s down you can change any behavior, positive or negative, into something beneficial for you. You have the power to change your world.
Leave a comment below about a habit you want to create using the Reminder-Routine-Reward system for yourself.
Be filled to overflowing,
Janet Stephenson says
I use reminders all the time! I would be floundering without them. Sometimes I use timers, sometimes I use an anchor like a sticky note. Putting my workout clothes on the chair the night before helps me as well.
Routine takes awhile for me. It can be inconsistent at first but I will stick it out if it’s something I really want. Otherwise it will fall away until I’m really ready to make that change.
Acknowledging my accomplishments or improvements is a practice I adopted in the last year or so. Every Sunday afternoon I have an appointment with my business accountability partner and we begin by sharing what we accomplished in the previous week and we do celebrate every small or large leap forward. It creates momentum to keep moving forward.
I’ve never made lasting positive change through the practice of criticism…
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Sara Ottoboni says
Beat a procrastination. What amazing topic. Thank you for sharing this post. Reading the word “Reward” was an ahah moment. I have to pay attention about this step. I have to remember to make something positive. Thank you Deneen.
Deneen Troupe-Buitrago says
Sara, the reward is very powerful. Even if it an avoidance of something negative. Find what motivates you and ‘go for it’.
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