Even though I know that habits only benefit me when I actually do them, I still sometimes find myself drifting away from them, because you know… life happens. You don’t do something today… for two weeks… and before you know it a month and a half has passed by without you doing it.
That is what happened to me this summer. I laid reading aside and excused myself with the thought that I had started listening to more podcasts.
We’re all World Champions in finding excuses and it’s super easy to do so. The hard part is to return to your habits and pick them up again.
How I got myself to read again after 2-month break
I started with a small, doable goal – to read 10 pages a day. Seems insignificant, but an average book has around 300 pages, which makes 1 book a month. Considering that most people don’t read any books after finishing school, 12 books in one year is quite an achievement.
That doesn’t mean I close the book right after I’ve reached 10 pages. Mostly I read more because if I start, it’s almost impossible to stop.
If I wouldn’t even find 10 minutes to read, then it would be foolish to promise myself that starting from tomorrow I’ll read for an hour every day. You can keep on telling this fairy tale to yourself, but why set yourself up for a disappointment?
Just do your minimum
Even with running, I don’t always feel like I could run 5 kilometers today. Yet I still push myself to go outside and do my minimum – 2 kilometers. When I start running, I feel the adrenaline kicking in and then I’ll still end up running that 5 or even 6 kilometers. Activity fuels more activity and laziness fuels more laziness. If I had already forced myself at home to run 5 kilometers, I probably wouldn’t have even put on my sneakers.
Activity fuels more activity and laziness fuels more laziness
Set a goal, which is doable for you and then disciplines yourself to do it. If you must, write it down. That way the likelihood of succeeding is higher. That’s what I’ve learned from my own behavior during the last few years.
If you have neglected your habit or you wish to start a new one, then first set a long-term goal for yourself:
- For 30 days I’ll read 10 pages daily
- For 30 days I’ll take a 30-minute walk in fresh air (regardless of the weather)
- For 21 days I’ll do 3×10 push-ups (1008 total)
Then chop it up into days and every day write down 3 things you need to do today:
- I’ll take a 30-minute walk in the morning
- Today I’ll read 10 pages
- I’ll do 4×12 push-ups
For those of you who think that a 30-minute walk is for pussies – it helps clear your mind and get it into order for the following 16-hour workday, so it’s actually really helpful.
10 pages are not much, but 10 pages of a right book can be life-changing.
12 push-ups seem like pointless, but 1000 push-ups not so much.
All these activities are easy to do and that’s where the secret lies. You don’t have to be a Superman to do these things.
100% your decision
Every morning write down those 3 things you want to do and when you’ve done them just cross them out. If you’ve crossed all the 3 things out, you’ve won the day! If not, then you’ve lost. Win or lose, the decision is 100% yours to make!
That’s not something I came up with, this is something I learned while listening to podcasts (when I was avoiding reading). For a long time, I’ve searched for something which would help me focus better, so starting from the next day I put it into use. I still use it and recommend it to you too.
Less dicking around and more doing
It’s called Powerlist and if you’re interested then listen to Andy’s podcast’s 107th episode. He explains thoroughly and clearly how he uses it in his personal life and business.
I use the 5-row option, as Andy himself. 2 of them are linked with my personal development, like working out, reading, meditating, and 3 of them with achieving business goals. Powerlist helps keep my focus on the most important things and pushes me to do stuff, even if it’s past midnight. If you want to become a winner, you need tools that winners use and Andy sure knows what he is talking about.
Powerlist is a game changer
If you put those activities into your to-do list, where are 17 other things, then it’s easy to postpone them until tomorrow/to choose a smaller assignment and leave all the important stuff waiting for a better timing. Trust me, I’m speaking from my own personal experience.
With Powerlist the game changes. The focus is on things that you’ve written down in the morning and these are the things you have to get done before bedtime. Because no one likes losing!
Today I use making lists and crossing things out, but before that I used Coach.me. Also, a good way to track your habits.
Coming back to the good habits once again makes you feel powerful and you can read more about my 8-morning habits. Maybe you’ll find something suitable for yourself, from which to develop a new habit.