Good habits are hard to build. And once you’re there, harder to keep. Does that mean we should give up before we even begin?
I was inspired by a quick read this weekend – Superhuman by Habit: A Guide to Becoming the Best Possible Version of Yourself, One Tiny Habit at a Time (it’s a free Kindle download!). We’re heading into February and though Amanda and I are super excited at how January turned up for us (new page views record, we traveled to four different cities, started a mini-spinning competition after each of us got our own bikes at home), we know there’s always room for improvement.
I also felt a huge cloud of procrastination coming my way. I bought two journals and a new coloring book, plus a new set of calligraphy markers. Right. (If you haven’t looked or gotten into the bullet journal frame of mind…don’t! Okay, maybe if you have five minutes, go to Instagram and look for #bujo. Amazing! I can spend a full day coloring a to do list? Yes, please!). We needed something to kick us a little bit on the butt, even if it were just to read an extra book this month.
A note of a caution on this particular book. The author’s journey is kind of atypical for most of us mortals, you know, the common folk in the blogging world. He worked with Mystery on a VH1 show about how to pick women at bars. Needles to say, he’s kind of…interesting. But don’t get discouraged! His writing is simple and to the point, and most of it is actually from personal experience. Plus, if you like Tim Ferris, or you’re thinking about buying his next book, Superhuman might be just up your alley (did I mention free, too?)
What I like the most about this book was the permission to do things HORRIBLY. What? I know. Crazy, right? How do you go from doing things horribly to actually building good habits? That’s kind of his secret sauce, and why we think his book is that awesome.
First of all, why should you work on building good habits?
He got us right from the intro: we saw the words “no effort or thought.” No effort or though? Yes! Where do we sign up?
A habit, a good habit or a bad habit, is an action that you do over and over again, and, by adding this action into your routine, it ends up running on…autopilot. You don’t have to think about it! It just goes! Think about washing your hands after using the restroom. Your brain does not question it. It just takes you to the sink so you can do your business.
Wouldn’t it be nice if the same mechanism could be used for, let’s say, going to the gym, or buying only the healthy stuff at the grocery store?
A habit, a good habit or a bad habit, is an action that you do over and over again, and, by adding this action into your routine, it ends up running on...autopilot.Click To Tweet
Good Habit 1: Patience
I know I promised you 7 easy habits for successful bloggers and maybe you thought this was an awesome post about building your email list (no worries, we have one here). It’s not. And that’s a good thing, too.
After reading Superhuman by Habit, I wanted to take a step back and think about my “blogging routine.” We’ve been posting consistently three posts for the last few months, and we’re very proud of that! However, I’m particularly not proud of checking the page views or the Convertkit screen every hour or so.
I just don’t have the patience to wait a full day to see how we’re doing (as you should, by the way). I want to see my numbers real time. Like in right this minute. In fact, I might be checking my stats right now as I’m typing, too.
Patience, hence, is my #1 good habit to start working on right away. Plus, I figure, you need tons of patience to build the rest of the habits on your list, so why not tackle the most difficult one first?
(So, please know that it’s been 70 minutes now since I last checked the stats! From the first draft of this post to this final version! Yes!)
Good Habit 2: Work Out
Stay with me! We tend to get so obsessed about hitting this milestone on page views or this other benchmark on revenue that we forget about the most important component of any blog or business: YOU.
I love yoga and there are weeks I skip it completely because I’m in my crazy ninja writing mode so all I want to do is sit at my laptop 12 hours a day and write. Well, that’s just really bad for you.
For a plethora of reasons.
So I’m adding working out to my list. I’m usually the all or nothing kind of girl: I always feel forced to workout for at least a full hour (or I feel I failed completely). But, for the next few months, as I’m building the habit and the process, AND, I have permission to do things poorly, I’m going to be happy with a 20-minute workout. Today was my first day, and I went running for 30 minutes right before writing this post. That would have been a total BLAH yesterday, but today not only did I succeed at my 20-minute goal, but also surpassed it. Yup. Total champ here!
Good Habit 3: Break Up with Facebook
For at least a few weeks. Television used to be the evil time sucker, but now it’s Facebook.
How much time do you spend on Facebook groups?
How many posts do you pass until you see an update you actually care about, and most of the times, it’s about puppies with kittens?
I can’t even remember how many nights I go to bed early thinking that I will finish reading a book, or will spend some time browsing through Oprah Magazine (I like her lists!), to then just realize it’s 1 am and I’m on Facebook.
I’m starting small on this one too, by the way. I don’t think I can completely give up the beast that is Facebook, but I know I can easily NOT open it after I go to bed. See ya later, Facebook! (Or at least, in the early morning.)
Good Habit 4: Evening To Do Lists
I actually started doing this a few months back and really liked it. But at some point it became something I did “often” versus “always.” So I want to work on having the habit of setting up my day the night before and not the morning of.
It’s more efficient.
After you finish your day, you know exactly what needs to be tackled next. So this is a great time to write it down, and prioritize it. If you do the same thing in the morning, you might forget a thing or two, or, worse, you might go onto Amazon and start shopping or looking for deals (or downloading Kindle books such as Superhuman!). A lot of experts agree that the best morning person is actually a great evening person (read more about it here).
In the spirit of, then, worrying about building a good habit and NOT the actual end product, I’m also going to start small here. I’ll write 1 or 2 things I want to tackle in the morning, and then grow it from there.
Good Habit 5: Write 500 Words Every Day
The all-star self-help book 7 Habits of Highly Effective People actually had eight habits. Did you know? The 8th habit was to find your voice and inspire others to find theirs. Doesn’t that sound amazing? When we wrote the Lazy Girl’s Branding and Marketing Guide we struggled a little bit to find our voice, at least on the first drafts. It took us many revisions to clean it up and really feel in love with its contents. Finding our voice was extra difficult in our case because it’s two of us (Amanda and myself) and, though we strive for the same goals when it comes to blogging and business, we have very different writing styles and personalities. Finding your own voice is HARD. But as anything else, it’s possible…if you put in the right amount of effort.
…and, the most minuscule amount of effort is, of course, to star small. As in 500-words-a-day small.
If you are new to blogging and the idea of 500 words is very intimidating, that’s great. That means writing daily is one of the best habits you can start building for yourself, because you really need it! So, what do you write about? ANYTHING. Remember, you’re building the habit of siting down and typing, not the habit of writing a best seller or a viral blog post in under one hour. Focus on the process not the product! You can write about how you don’t know what to write about, even! Just…write.
I know you guys are awesome writers and readers….I was so excited to see the great response for this post about great books for bloggers. So I can’t wait to hear your thoughts about Superhuman!
Let us know… what habit are you going to tackle next?