Creating New Habits

My mom wrote in a journal every single night. I’m not sure when she first began, but I’m going to say for probably more than 64 of the 94 years of her life. Sometimes it seemed like a few quick notes, but I know she did it every night. It was part of her evening routine, and it was as important and regular to her as brushing her teeth.
I’m not sure if there is a gene for that (or a Jeanne) but if there is, I didn’t get her desire to journal OR her green thumb, sadly. I often thought I would journal, or maybe I should journal, but I was way too neutral on the subject to ever become motivated enough to actually do it.
Until one day, when I was coaching a client on creating habits. She had mentioned many times that she wanted to start reading regularly so I challenged her to create a framework for making it happen. And I told her I would do it with her because hey, I always wanted to start journaling.
My general plan for doing something new includes:
1 – getting clear on the why
2 – breaking the desired habit down into one small & actionable task
3 – finding a consistent time & place you can envision yourself doing the task
4 – identifying another habit you can attach it to
5 – doing whatever you need to do to make it easy to execute
My client wanted to become ‘a reader’ and said she thought it would be easy to commit to 5 minutes each day. (I suggested a timer) She picked the morning, and since she drank coffee every morning at the kitchen table, she decided to always have her book either on or near that same table so that each morning it was easy for her to read while she drank her coffee.
And for me? Well, I put a small journal by the chair I sit in when I meditate, which is something I do every morning. I started off thinking I could write just one word, or maybe just one sentence. But then I heard of the idea of writing one thing I am grateful for, one thing I want to focus on and one thing I want to let go of.
And guess what? It has been over six months now and I’m still going strong. There are many days where I write much more, but at the base minimum, I always have those three things. And now it isn’t anything I ‘try’ to do, it is merely ‘what’ I do.
I’ve made it a part of my identity.
And I think somewhere up/out there, my mom is giving me that chin-to-the-side-pursed-lip-eyebrows-up-head-tilted look (go ahead – try it lol) cuz she is a little surprised too. I’m a ‘journal-er’ and I can put a check in the box beside that item on the ‘someday I want to’ list.
What do you want to bring into your life?