A couple of weeks ago I wrote about how forming new habits can create a ‘new normal’ for yourself and help you to stay motivated.
Yesterday I was chatting with Robin, one of my clients, who has been implementing this very advice for the last month and a half.
I noticed a massive change in Robin’s attitude at the last Mastermind meeting. Where he used to always focus on the negatives and be hard on himself for not making enough progress, he has now started to change that.
I asked Robin if he would share with me, and you, exactly how he’s made these changes and what difference it’s made to him. I asked him a few questions and here’s what he said:
What prompted you to change?
I made the realisation that I was riding this emotional rollercoaster all the time. Some days were fine but other days where I didn’t have any routine were just frittered away. I believe I have so much potential and I’ve got a massive amount to offer but I’m an up and down person. I needed to address what was going on in my head so I could smooth out the ups and downs.
How did you go about making changes?
I started reading the book ‘Motivation Myth’ by Jeff Haden. It made me realise that being an up and down person is fine but you need to have other things in there to smooth out the peaks and troughs and not be so subject to good or bad days.
It’s okay to have good days but you need to temper yourself.
It’s okay to have bad days but you can still turn around and say you got a lot done.
I made a commitment to form four new habits and make sure I maintained those habits. In the end it becomes your identity. It’s not something you do, it’s something you are.
Instead of saying “I need to do that” I say “I’m the type of person who does that”. It’s a subtle change of language but ‘need’ implies there’s a choice and you can decide whether you do it or not.
What habits did you commit to making?
- Ten minutes of meditation every day
- Some form of physical exercise every day
- Making sure I was out of bed by 7.30am on work days
- Half an hour of education every day (reading books, doing online courses, etc)
How are you forming these habits?
You have to do something every day repeatedly for 45-60 days for it to become a habit.
I started using a free app called ‘Streaks’. Every time I do something tick it off. As of today I have done 46 consecutive days of meditation and exercise, 34 of getting up before 7.30am and 32 of education. Now I find myself not wanting to break the streak. Keeping the streak going itself becomes a habit.
It’s a bit like ‘fake it ’til you make it’. It’s just what i do in the morning now; I get up at 7.30am, meditate and go for a walk or a cycle – on autopilot. If I miss one day I’ll be letting myself down.
The importance is not going for a walk, the importance is not being the type of person who doesn’t go for a walk.
It’s also important to get the people around you to support you. My wife will say “have you done your meditation today?” and if I haven’t she’ll tell me to go upstairs and do it while she does the washing up.
What difference has it made?
I’m still having ups and downs but at end of the day I can say at least I’ve done my daily habits and it gives me a sense of achievement. I can no longer have ‘bad’ days. Even if I’ve had an unproductive day I still feel like I’ve done something.
Being self employed means there’s no boss looking at his watch making sure I’m at my desk at 9am every morning, there’s no one to tell me what to do and when to do it. You have to be disciplined with yourself and build that routine.
I used to have all these business books lying around and online courses I signed up to but never did but if I do them or read them for just half an hour a day that equals 2 1/2 hours every week of education.
Even on bad day when motivation is down I can still achieve something and it helps me keep my positivity up.
Robin Adams is “the MailChimp Guy”… (mainly because when someone asks do you know Robin… the answer is usually…”oh yeah… he’s the MailChimp Guy”)