Starting something new is difficult. Whether it’s going to the gym, learning a musical instrument, or reading more books, we try hard to create this habit, but we keep putting it off. But there is a trick. Let me share two personal examples, one recently and the other a few years ago.
In fact, making something a habit is about stability. If you do something all the time, it will become a habit after a while. But the real challenge is to ensure continuity. But our habits can sometimes put us in a difficult situation. One of the best examples of this is about a former kindergarten teacher who has gone into corporate life. Although she was now working with adults, her old habits continued to kick in, and she was constantly asking her colleagues if they had washed their hands after going to the toilet. Just like what happened to me once. We were trying to get into the habit of separating waste in the company. By the way, I am also an Environmental Engineer. Every week, I was checking whether the waste was disposed of correctly in 80 – 90 waste buckets. This made me such a habit for me that on the way home or to work, I started to check the waste containers in the neighborhood or on the road. Luckily, I was able to get rid of this habit without starting to rummage through the garbage. I’m not going to derail the topic. Our main topic is not to get rid of our habits. Our topic is; “How can we develop a new habit?”
I couldn’t find the time to write my blog posts or edit my notes. All my notes and ideas were just there on my Notion page. For some reason, editing my notes or writing on my blog was not among my priorities. One day an idea came to my mind. I had a 1-hour lunch break at work every noon. Due to the pandemic, we no longer go to the cafeteria and the food comes to our desks. It takes me 10 minutes to eat my food and I have 50 minutes left each day. I wear my Bluetooth headset and freely organize all my notes. I even edited the texts of my Youtube videos.
James Clear calls this habit stacking in his book Atomic Habits. The basic idea is to identify a habit you’re already doing and then do the new thing immediately. It works because you’re kicking a habit your brain is already wired to do.
Here’s another example, and it’s more life-changing than editing my posts and notes. For a long time, I tried to get into the habit of waking up early in the morning, reading a book, and writing a diary, but it didn’t work. After waking up, I always go to work. Because I always wake up at the last minute.
Before going to sleep one night, I prepared my book, which I will read in the morning, and my notebook and pens on my desk, where I would write my notes. When I say I prepared; I left my pen on my notebook as if I could take notes at any moment, with the page open on whichever page of my book I was left on. In other words, if a thief breaks into the house at night, he says, “Oh my God, someone was reading a book here. I have to get the hell out of here right now.” So when my alarm clock starts in the morning, I immediately think of my desk. Getting out of bed has become more accessible.
A few tips:
Start really small.
When I started editing my posts, while I could only write one post a week, I gradually increased it to five. I edit a few posts each week, but I don’t pressure myself to finish anything.
Make it easy to start your habit.
As I said, before I sleep at night, I prepare my book, notebook, and pens that I will read in the morning. When I wake up in the morning, I get rid of thinking about what I read or do. All I have to do is get my big ass up and put it on the chair in front of my desk. In fact, some nights before I go to sleep, I read a few pages from my book and wake up in the morning wondering what will happen next.