Habits are easy to form. It’s the good habits which can be difficult to create, especially when it is requiring the mindset to go in a different direction than it’s use to. Here’s a quick challenge to show you what I mean by this: clasp your hands and fingers together. Take note as to which thumb is on top. Now flip only your thumbs to where they are overlapping with the one which was on the top is now on the bottom. How does that feel? That’s exactly how creating a new habit can feel. It can be uncomfortable. In doing this challenge you also created a new groove in the brain meaning you have the opportunity to introduce a new GOOD habit into your life. So just how do you develop good habits and rituals?
Take an assessment of what your current habits and rituals are. For instance, one of my rituals was to get up at 5 a.m. to visualize for 15-30 minutes, post to social media, then get dressed for the gym to be there by 6:30 a.m. Upon returning from the gym, I would drive to the coffee shop and order my caffeinated cocktail then I’d head home to cook breakfast and spend time with my partner until I went to work. I did this almost every morning and one could basically tell the time by my morning ritual. However, once I began to write more and transition into becoming a full time entrepreneur, I had a habit of bringing my phone to bed and posting while we were supposed to be having “couple time”. I had to post or reply to everyone and I felt I needed to write at that exact moment because my creative energies were flowing! On top of that I had to create a different schedule to include my writing time and so I could continue to meet client deadlines….of course without sacrificing my fitness schedule.
But what about my relationship with my partner? Like many of you, my relationship was the last to be considered and the first to suffer the most.
The initial changes to my schedule were very taxing. I didn’t go to the gym as much making the excuse that I didn’t have enough time to meditate, write, go to the gym, get coffee, come home and cook and be on time for office by my contracted time. Frustration set in and I became very overwhelmed. Eventually, I began to drop the balls on the important things such as my fitness and I was showing up for the office later and guess what? We were arguing more. Finally, I stopped caring as much and I could feel that we were coasting on auto-pilot. How we talk to one another and how we were beginning to feel were taking their toll on both of us. We almost called it quits until we came up with a plan to save the relationship.
One day, we started reflecting back on what we use to do and who we were and I started noticing a pattern between us. When we had fewer commitments or his commitments took him away from home, I had a certain ritual I had developed to occupy that space when he was away. The problem was I liked that ritual but it didn’t work for him when he came home. I was slowly killing my relationship all because I didn’t want to give in on what I enjoyed doing while he was away. After this epiphany, I sat with him and explained to him why this mattered to me and I asked him what was it he didn’t like. Once we discussed it I was able to create a new ritual which in turn helped me develop better habits with time management, operating my house hold activities, scheduling my clients properly and eventually allowing me to be an entrepreneur full-time.
By trade, I was an accounting auditor so I decided to audit my life the same as I audited financial statements. These questions and comments helped me create better habits and rituals and also helped me keep my relationship intact while I built my business.
How to set up Good Habits and Rituals
- What are you actually doing?
- Does your partner and the the things you do with your partner adding value to your day and in helping you accomplish your goals or are those things in your way and holding you back?
- Make a list of everything you do in as much detail as possible. Once you have made your list, scratch off things you can eliminate immediately…today that are not required to live and survive.
Here’s an example. One of my clients was responsible for feeding her mother’s pet chickens every day before going home from a long day at the office. On the weekend, she ran her mother’s errands. Her mother was healthy, had her own vehicle and was capable of getting these things done on her own. Her mother was probably controlling but mostly my client had a hard time saying “no”. Upon discovering how she was wasting time she quickly ended that chore and was able to get more done for herself and never went back to feeding the chickens. And guess what else? Mom lived.
- Create ways in which your habits and rituals are in place for you to take care of yourself and your partner’s needs. If bringing the phone to the bed is an issue, find the best time to get your work done or consider giving up something else you like for the sake of your partner being happy.
- Be honest with your partner about what you need and also be open minded and flexible as they also share what they need.
- Try NEW schedules for a week and pay attention to what works and what doesn’t work.
- Communicate, Communicate, Communicate.
- Write a practical schedule which fuses your relationship and business together and stick to it. Give it to your partner for accountability. (Remember the hand clasp exercise above and remember changing the mind takes practice and repetition.)
- BE PATIENT.
- BE COMMITTED.