A fresh page is the perfect time to begin new habits. Many of us already know that these new resolutions rarely have the sticking power to carry us through the next twelve months in and of themselves,. As a result, you may have stopped making them. Heck, to be perfectly honest, I was still struggling with last year’s resolution to create a new strategy for writing blog posts.
A series of personal events derailed my schedule last summer. Before moving my home and business, I thought it would be a simple matter to pick up where I left off… but, it was anything but seamless.
Although I was in a new city, with new surroundings, nothing seemed worthy of writing about (said the Evil inner editor). Client projects were going exceedingly well. Of course, everyone else’s life always seems more exotic and noteworthy than your own. I was happy doing their revisions and restructuring their books—easy peasy! Over the course of several projects, I had set aside my own personal writing.
Despite best intentions, finding my groove turned out to be even more elusive. This happened at a very bad time, in that my queue of posts was due to run out and in my panic, I created my own writer’s block. And it seemed to have a pretty good choke hold.
In mid-December, my friend John invited me to coffee to discuss a book he was reading. He gave me James Clear’s book ATOMIC HABITS and it couldn’t have come at a better time. Clear outlines several strategies for staying on target while developing new habits. He even explained why goal setting many times isn’t enough. With that, I had to agree. Case and point: Even though “write blog posts” had been on my list of goals for well over four months, I struggled with getting them written and had no posts for December of last year. How was I to get around that block?
When people are paying you to write for them, you cannot disappoint them. I had slipped into a pattern of writing under a high-pressure deadline for clients and it worked. But it wasn’t working for my personal writing. I added a further burden to myself by saying when I did sit down to write posts, I would write several. That additional pressure didn’t serve me. If I did come up with ideas, I tended to write them quickly to get them off my plate.
James Clear’s brilliant idea of improving just one percent was manna to my writing soul! Maybe, to start, I could write just 100 words every day—the long term goal being 1,000. If additional ideas occurred, I could make note of them. But the goal is just 100. After a successful week of consistently writing 100 words, I could raise it to 250. It made more sense to me to be in a habit of writing every day and develop posts from the best of those ideas. Making this a daily part of my weekly work, instead of expecting to be inspired to write several in larger blocks of time (that never appeared.)
One of his suggestions was to attach this “new” habit to something I already do. You and I have a set of rituals that we implement to get through each day: get up, make our bed, get dressed, work out, shower, and have breakfast or a cup of coffee, go to work, eat lunch, quit work, go home make dinner, and go to bed. To begin a new routine, I will write 100 words after breakfast while at the table. On a particular day of the week, say Sunday over morning tea, I’ll review the week’s writing, choose the most promising one to edit, develop and complete and put them in the queue.
If I can find a way to make the new morning habit fun—like getting a new pen, a snazzy journal or notebook, buying a book of writing prompts—then I’m looking forward to the writing time.
By making this part of every morning, I will have multiplied my options for blog posts, and given myself the time necessary to put together higher quality content. Writing new material will no longer be anxiety-producing because I am writing in a relaxed environment. I’m also retraining myself to be on the lookout for events, circumstances, and unusual details to create interesting stories.
What does this mean for you?
If you are serious about your resolution and want to see real fruit from your efforts, ATOMIC HABITS could be one of the best investments of your new year. If you read it and only improve by 1% per day for a whole year, you could have accomplished quite a lot by this time next year. Along the way, remember to celebrate the victories!
Is your resolution something that you want to be doing a year from now? The answer for me is yes. I’m in it for the long haul. Sunday mornings for me are a slower start to the week. Reading through the week’s writing over steaming cups of chai is something I look forward to.
ATOMIC HABITS is a book you really don’t want to miss. It has given me a new way to look at habits that I want to strengthen as well as those I want to lose. I wanted to share it with you—no affiliate links and no kickbacks from the author–because it helped me so much. Now, I’m looking forward to a fantastic 2022!
What are some changes you would like to see in your personal life? How could your business be impacted by this information? Drop you comments below and we’ll see you again soon!