I believe strongly in the power of habit, but I’ve never been very good at creating daily habits because I am not good at establishing and sticking to routines.
As a journalist, I spent years working in a field where every day is different. I always thrived in that environment, and I never worked in a corporate-type situation with consistent days and hours and meetings and schedules. Facing a challenging job landscape, I had to become a freelancer to keep myself involved in the career I loved. The lack of consistent work and money pushed me to start my own business. I now own two companies I run from home — a real estate company and a lawn sign business — in addition to an app I am developing and stories I produce for different media. It’s great to have the freedom to set your own hours, but for someone like me, it’s difficult to stick to a consistent schedule and even harder to establish daily habits.
Some nights I stay up until 3 am working and then sleep in. Other days I have appointments in the mornings. Often a phone call from a customer wakes me up, and I end up spending half the day sitting at the computer in my pajamas taking care of all sorts of odds and ends and answering calls and emails, before I finally pull myself away to get dressed and “start” my day. I’m guessing many more people understand this now that a large segment of the population has been forced to work from home because of the pandemic.
While this free-flowing schedule fits my personality, it worries me that it affects my productivity. I know how powerful habits can be for improving our lives, based on multiple books like “The Power of Habit,” which said that the majority of what we do isn’t really directed by our conscious decisions but more based on our habits on auto-pilot. The best way to make improvements to our lives is to consciously form new habits. The only way to eliminate a bad habit is to replace it with a good one. These are all realities that have been validated by research.
So I am actively pushing against my instinct to enjoy the limitless possibilities of every day and commit myself to certain tasks I am going to do on a daily basis.
One big one that I started doing every day on June 10 is Miracle Morning. This is a series of six healthy habits described in the book “The Miracle Morning” and easily remembered with the acronym SAVERS – Silence (meditation), Affirmation, Visualization, Exercise, Reading, Scribing (journaling). I got the book from a mentor last year. I didn’t even open it because I am SO NOT a morning person. I listen to multiple audiobooks a month, and I love personal development books. But I rarely READ books. Reading usually makes me tired. But in January when we all try to start new habits, I cracked it open and finally started to read it, and I was pulled in. I was convinced I could start every day spending 10 minutes on each of these six healthy habits. I started doing the Miracle Morning routine in February. I did it pretty regularly — several times a week. But the more I read the book, the more I realized I needed to make this one of the RARE habits in my life that I was committed to do every day.
So this month I made that commitment, and I have stuck to it for 16 days in a row. I sometimes start in the morning when I wake up, get distracted by work phone calls, and finish later in the day. Sometimes I end up starting in the afternoon or even at night (one day). Some days I shorten the routine and only spend a few minutes on each habit, to finish the entire sequence in less than 30 minutes. But I get to all six steps every single day. And I know it has an impact. Before reading this book and adding the SAVERS strategy to my life, I never had a vision board. Not only did I create and use a vision board as part of my Miracle Morning, but I’ve recently replaced several pictures on that board with new ones, because I already achieved some of the goals! The combination of these six key habits — together with commitment and focus and hard work — has produced some wonderful results. And that was before I was doing it every day. I’m really eager to move even faster towards my bigger goals now that I am committed to doing it seven days a week, 52 weeks a year, year after year. That’s a big commitment to put in writing — but I am ready!
So that brings me to a new goal that has come about because of this book. Part of the Miracle Morning process is to write out a description of your best possible “Level 10” vision for each area of life (family, personal development, health, finances, career, physical environment, fun, romance, giving, spirituality). The next exercise is to come up with two key habits in each area that will help make that vision a reality. Today I had to come up with the two key habits to create my own idea of being at the top of my game in terms of personal growth and development. I already listen to audiobooks on the subject nearly every day. But a key component for me is to also journal every day, and to share those realizations I achieve through journaling with others in a written blog and a video blog.
So that is what I wrote down today, and that is what I intend to do. I am going to try to do it at the end of every Miracle Morning session. I’ve had this blog for years, and I’ve shared in this blog many stories and insights from my own successes and failures that I hope will help others navigate their own challenges in life. But I’ve never been consistent about it. I started a YouTube channel sharing videos with the same themes, and I posted new videos every week for several months. But I didn’t stick to that consistent schedule.
Now I’m committed to creating a new daily habit of creating and posting a written and video blog every day despite the inconsistent schedule of my life. I would love to hear from you about the ways that have helped you develop new habits and routines. Let’s all help each other conquer our challenges together.