Smart Girls, Bad Habits
By Stephanie Young
Photo Credit: Jesse Frohman
Small Changes, BIG IMPACT
Here's your new plan for swapping out your old habits for new ones:
The more concrete you can be about your goals, the better, notes Julie Naylon, owner of No Wire Hangers, a Los Angeles based professional organizing service "not just a general Get organized," she says, "but a Clear off my desk by filing my piles of papers."
START SMALL, GO SLOW
It's easy to get overwhelmed and give up when dealing with life-altering changes. So break big goals into baby steps. If you're trying to stick to a budget, resolve to pack a lunch three days a week instead of going out. You'll feel accomplished making even small changes and small changes are easier to stick to.
Whether you're trying to get up earlier or watch less TV, you'll need to be consistent with your efforts in order to see results. "Practicing once in a while or when you think of it is not enough," Charles Duhigg says. "Remember, you want the new behavior to become automatic. That takes repetition."
Write down your goal and post it where you'll see it daily. Or tell a friend about it. Getting to yoga on the weekends was hit-or-miss for Emily Esson until she made plans to meet a friend there. "Knowing she was waiting for me got me to class and made me keep up the commitment," Esson says.
No one's perfect, so avoid all-or-nothing thinking if you mess up. Marcia Friel, a Chicago-based professional organizer, suggests "quickies" to show yourself that you're still capable of meeting your goal. "Say you've let desk organization slide for a week. Get back in the saddle with the One-Minute Rule," she explains. "Give yourself a minute to clear as many things from your inbox." That minor feeling of accomplishment may be enough to get you back on your new-habit track.
Feeling good is the ultimate incentive for keeping a habit. So remember to savor how satisfied you feel when you practice your good habits.