Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Forming New Habits

On Joyce Meyer this morning she talked about forming new habits, and how it's one of the hardest things we need to do. Whether it's exercise, or to stop smoking, or eating better when all you crave is salty stuff, or turning off the TV, forming new habits is work.

People tell me all the time they want to write a book, but they just don't have...you guessed it...the time. Lack of time doesn't only prevent us from writing. We use it as an excuse not to visit our aging loved ones. Not to attend an event with a friend. Not to play ball in the yard with a kid.

"I just don't have the time."

I'm as guilty as anyone else. But I've found that I manage to find the time if it's something I really want to do, if it's really important to me.

So if you've been talking or thinking for years about writing a book or tackling some other project that's been on your mind, you need to develop some new habits that will help you carve the time necessary out of your schedule.

Stop surfing the Net and checking email every five minutes and tell yourself you're going to write uninterrupted for one hour. At least. You can build up to an entire evening after you make a habit of the one hour.

Maybe you need to turn off the TV. You've probably heard yourself say there's really nothing worth watching anyway. But have you ever noticed how easy it is to sit down with the intention of watching one program or just one Seinfeld episode because it's one of your favorites, and before you know it, the whole evening's gone? You get up feeling tired and guilty and wishing you could have the last two hours back.

As I said before, I'm as guilty as anyone. I'm home all day and consequently I probably waste more time than the average person. Every morning I get out of bed with the best intentions, and before I know it, it's four in the afternoon and I should be planning dinner, and I haven't even reached my daily word count yet, not to mention updating my website like I meant to do and mopping the kitchen floor.

Where did the day go?

Forming better habits. I try to start each day with an exercise program. I'm pretty good about doing that one. But by mid-morning, my determination to accomplish my list is breaking down and I'm thinking, "Well, there's always tomorrow."


What wastes our time? What little things are we doing, or neglecting to do, that could free up a lot more time so we could accomplish what we want?

If something is important to you, you'll find the time, whether it's playing with the kids or taking salsa dancing lessons or writing the first chapter of that book that's been haunting you for years.

Let's decide to form some new habits this week. Set the alarm twenty minutes earlier so you're not running late out the door and sniping at the kids like it's their fault. Turn off the TV tonight and the IM alarm and focus on writing. Whatever is keeping you from doing what is important, strive to develop a more productive habit.

It's all within your control.

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