Most of us are familiar with this word—so familiar in fact, that we often forget what it really means. The word I’m referencing is habit. According to Merriam-Webster, it’s an acquired mode of behavior that has become nearly or completely involuntary. So what are the bad and the good things you do without even thinking about them?
What are the areas of your life that you’ve become so accustomed to or conditioned to, that you keep behaving the same way over and over, without remembering why? For me, food comes to mind.
When I was growing up, we were pretty poor—to the point that my dad often hunted game and my mom cultivated a large garden, so we could eat. I know what it’s like to wonder where your next meal is going to come from and hoping there will be enough food to go around.
As an adult who doesn’t have the same financial challenges my parents did, I am still conditioned to eat every morsel, whether it’s a candy bar or a full meal. In fact, I have the opposite problem I had in childhood—now I suffer from overabundance. Out of guilt, I can hardly leave anything on my plate. My habit of consuming everything in front of me started from when I was little, as I wondered if I would have anything to eat the next day. That fear still haunts me today. I’ve found there’s only one thing that can help me overhaul my habit hangup, intentional focus. But it’s not something that starts out easy.
Do you remember when you first learned to drive? How focused you were on every gadget, dial, and light. How awkward and uncomfortable the positioning of your hands and legs felt. The pressure to juggle everything in your mind at once: looking in the rearview mirror, watching the speedometer, keeping an eye on the gauges, making sure you looked ahead to approaching vehicles? But after a few weeks, months, and especially years of practice, the juggling act became routine. We can learn to overhaul our habit hangups by studying that example.
We must keep doing something over and over that at first feels awkward, uncomfortable, and stressful, in order to develop habits. If we never tried a different set of behaviors, we’d never learn anything new, or gain strength, and we’d miss out on a whole of good, fun, and adventure. Staying stuck in the same old rut sure won’t lead us to our dreams.
What are you giving in to on a daily basis, what routines or habits that you don’t even notice, are detracting from our dreams?
Only 8% of people who make resolutions achieve them. 25% give up after the first week. These low statistics aren’t all bad news though.
When I wanted to be a writer, an instructor said that only 1% of aspiring authors succeed in getting published by a royalty house, where a publisher pays you to write a book, versus you having to shell out money so your book can see the light of day. When I heard that, a choice was immediately presented to me—I could throw my hands up and give up, assuming any efforts would be pointless, or I could resolve to become one of the 1% who set goals and created new habits to make my dream come true. Since my fifth book is releasing in a few weeks, I’m sure you can guess which choice I made.
Instead of giving up, I ended up setting a goal to read 100 books on the craft and business of writing. I didn’t get stuck on the big number, and gave myself the time necessary for me to succeed. I chunked down the overwhelming dream, and focused on taking a small, but strategic step each day. It took me 18 months to complete that goal, but I did it. Today, I am a successful author, speaker, and coach, because I broke some negative habits and implemented some positive changes in their place.
Today, I’m exercising what I call my 4×4 Habit Overhaul. I’m focusing on transforming four key areas, each week within a month, making a specific change within each target emphasis, and repeating monthly, for a year. At the end of that year, I will have changed 16 important habits, setting myself up to succeed at tending my dreams.
4×4 Habit Overhaul:
- Are you ready to chunk down your bigger vision into a bite-sized strategy?
- What are the four most important areas of your life you need to focus on?
- What four specific changes do you need to make for each important area of your life?
- How differently will your life look in a year, if each month, you go back to the beginning and start your four target emphasis again?
Overhauling habit hangups doesn’t happen on its own.
We can’t enjoy a good quality of life if we don’t incorporate good quality habits. What will help you pursue your dreams, maintain your dreams, and what are the habits that will keep them alive?
This episode’s Dream Tending Tips:
- Good habit practices are like puzzle pieces, when we put one in place, it shows where another piece might fit. Placing one positive habit after another will help you see the bigger picture for your dreams.
- If you feel bored, stuck, or as if something’s missing, review your life and consider your current habits. What could or should you change to add more passion and excitement to your existence?
- Consider the root of the word resolution—resolve. When you want a change, commit to it, resolve to make it happen, unwaveringly transform your habits.
- Chunk down the overwhelming into smaller areas of focus. Consistently ask yourself, “What’s my next best step?” Then take it.
- Without healthy habits, a dream can never take root and sprout from thought to reality.
- Review your life, what transformational moments conditioned you to some of the habits you practice today? Which ones benefit you? Which ones need to be replaced?
- Imagine what replacing 16 weak habits with 16 strengthening habits would make your life look like a year from now.
Grab the Tending Your Dreams’ free giveaway at tendyourdreams.com/freebie25 for your gift, just for tuning in. I also have some special eBook pricing for you.
Type in the code TYDeb50 to get your copy of the 4×4 Habit Overhaul for only $3.97, over half off the normal price. Purchase a book bundle using the same code, and save even more.
But ACT NOW, before this special eBook discount offer is gone.
Until next time, remember, your dreams are waiting for you to grab and tend them:
Never stop believing.
Dare to dream bigger!
Host Anita Agers Brooks can be found on various social media platforms, and you can discover additional dream tending tips at tendyourdreams.com.