October New Habit Challenge: Day 23: Make Your New Habit Hard to NOT Do (Set Up Obstacles or Barriers)

Today’s New Habit Challenge Tip is…

Make Your New Habit Hard to NOT do.  Just as there have been obstacles or barriers to creating this habit, it is time to create some beneficial obstacles and barriers for keeping your new habit.  An obstacle should hold you to your new habit and make it more difficult to not achieve your new habit every day.  Get creative.  Make rules for your life.  Get silly.

Welcome to day 23 of your new habit.  I know you are experiencing much success at this point.  Your new habit is taking affect and becoming a natural part of your life.  My 10PM bedtime habit is taking affect even on the weekends.  It’s a good thing my guy likes to go to sleep early too.  It is almost like by itself my habit is becoming hard to not do.  I am starting to feel like something is off when I do not go to sleep by 10PM.

Although our new habits are becoming a semi-conscious behavior let’s further ingrain this habit into our daily lives by making it difficult to not do.

Now I am not a big fan of rules for the sake of simply regulating, but in this instance when we are creating better life practices simple rules for ourselves can be really helpful.  A friend of mine told me this story of her mom.  Her mom got tired of cleaning the kitchen and did not want herself or her kids eating late at night so after dinner she would clean the kitchen then “close” the kitchen.  The fruit in the fruit bowl and simple snacks and beverages were within limits, but no more cooking or making a mess in the kitchen for the rest of the evening.  The kitchen was closed and the cook was off duty.

My friends mom had made a simple rule in the house that made people show up for dinner and kept her from cooking and eating late at night.

For my bedtime routine, one rule I have started is to be in bed by 9:30.  I like to spend time in bed watching tv, reading, or playing a game on my iPad (Word with Friends and Sudoku are my favorites) before lights out.  This means I have changed my clothes, washed my face, taken the dogs out, brushed my teeth, and locked up the house for the evening by 9:30.  No reason to not have lights out by 10PM, right?

You know this rule kind of found me; I did not set out to create it, but in order to create my habit a few things needed to change in my life.  Have rules found you? Have you noticed your new habit transforming other areas of your life?

When I created the habit of making my bed every day, I had to make the rule of making my bed before my shower.  This way I could lay out my clothes for the day on my bed and use my bed for other purposes in the morning.  Making my bed first thing in the morning also prevents me from crawling back into it.  It is so tempting to read e-mails and drink coffee while tucked into my warm bed, which is a practice for a non-office day, not a day when I need to be in the office.

Are there rules you need to make for yourself that would help you maintain your new habit?  Although in the example of my friends’ mom closing the kitchen, the rule applied to the family, I think it is best to make rules that apply to you only.  I think rules that serve to support you and help you maintain this new habit are easiest for you to maintain.  I think when we make rules that just support us, but are applied to others; we find opposition to the rule which might undermine what we created it for.

Eventually you will probably not need the rule because the benefit of your new habit will be so significant you will prefer a life with the benefit versus any alternative.  The rule might be temporary; it is really just to help you make the new habit a semi- or sub-conscious aspect of your enhanced life.

If the thought of making a rule really does not appeal to you, how about creating an obstacle?  This is where you can really get creative and perhaps look a little wacky to others, but hey laugher is a good thing.  I have heard of people removing the batteries from the tv remote every time they turn off the tv.  Then in their path to the batteries they place the things that would enable them to perform their new habit.  For instance, next to your most comfy tv viewing place put that book you are reading (if your new habit is to read each day) and the batteries to the remote in a different room of the house.  Remember that 21 second rule, when we make the old non-beneficial habit 21 seconds more difficult to do and the new habit 21 seconds easier to do our brain magnifies the 21 seconds and all of the sudden the new habit is so much easier to do than the old habit.

Let me know what you think of this tip.  Have rules found you?  Would you benefit from a rule or two until this new habit is more ingrained in your daily routines?

If you would like support in creating new habits that could increase your life satisfaction consider my FREE Program 30-Days to a New Habit.  You can receive the 30 daily action plans via daily e-mails when you send a blank e-mail to new_habit@weber.com

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