Apparently we repeat the same 40% of our behaviour everyday – this is what is known as our habits. Things you repeat everyday, like brushing your teeth or making a cup of tea the minute you wake up, that you do without even a second thought.
I don’t think it’s unusual to wish you had a few more good habits (eating healthily, exercising, reading) and kicked a few bad ones (wine, TV, ice cream in bed), after all…
And what if you could use this technique to alter a few of your blogging habits? Taking control of time swallowed up by social media or constantly checking emails, and focusing more on creativity and the thing that makes us and our blogs happy.
You will probably have a different blog habit that you need to kick and other ‘good’ habits you want to introduce. It’s a good idea to jot down a few habits you’d like to adopt so that you can keep them in mind as you read.
I’ve recently finished reading Gretchen Rubin’s (Happiness Project, etc) new book, Better than Before, which is an in-depth look at how we can change, and her approach is by mastering habits. With out new blog habits in mind, here’s a potted look at how to master them…
Mastering Blog Habits
1. Decision making is exhausting
We get a certain number of good decisions a day and once you’ve gone past that number you’ll start making bad choices! If you spend all day deciding what you are and aren’t going to do, you’ll wear yourself out. So Gretchen says “decide not to decide”. So, decide once that you are going to spend 2 hours writing every day or comment on 10 blog posts, etc. and then do it every day. Decision made.
2. Know yourself
Are you an early bird or a night owl? Do you need outside pressure to meet deadlines? All this information in useful when you start planning your new habits. There’s no point saying you’ll get up at 5:30 every morning, if you in fact you work better at night. Gretchen has a whole new philosophy about how personality types also effect how well you take to forming new habits. I’m a Questioner but despite reading the book I needed to take the online test to find that out. Find out more about the personalities and see which one you are here!
This allows you to keep track of your new habit. Jerry Seinfeld had one habit he wanted to uphold everyday; he wrote jokes. And once he had spent say 4 hours working on jokes, he would put a big X on his calendar. He would say ‘just don’t break the chain’. Yours can be as simple or elaborate as you wish (but don’t make the monitoring process a chore!).
From Austin Kleon’s Steal Like an Artist Journal
When are you going to do your new habit? To make it a habit, where you don’t even think about it, you need to do it at the same time every day. Apparently it’s also helpful to tag it onto another habit. For example, if you want to regularly cleanse and tone, do it after you brush your teeth. Or if you want to write without distraction, schedule your time for after the kids go to bed or when your alarm rings first thing.
This can either be external in the form of an accountability partner, who will help you keep on track, or self accountability through the use of a chart (much like in number 3. Monitor). When we feel like there is someone keeping track of our successes, even if it’s just us, we alter our behaviour to suit.
Starting is a lot harder than carrying on! So just get started then don’t break the chain.
There is much more in Gretchen’s book about mastering habits, this was just a taster to get you started! If you’d like to study habits in more detail, I’d highly recommend a read. I loved the book.