A highly productive person understands the strategy behind building better habits. They make it a priority.

The beginning of 2019 has been full on for many people, at least that’s true in my world. Including for me.

And I’ll be honest; it’s been a challenge to remember to keep up with my High Performance Planner that High Performance Coach Brendon Burchard created.


Side note: In a blog post I wrote for The Virtual Gurus, I also mentioned The ONE Thing, which is another great productivity tool.

However, instead of getting discouraged, I continue to remind myself to engage with the tool because it is very valuable when I utilize it.

In doing so, I am feeling the pains of creating a new habit. Getting used to a new workflow can feel painful, just like getting used to going to the gym or eating healthier food.

But remember, you only fail if you stop getting back up and doing it again.

Repetition is the secret sauce.

The best thing to do is to keep picking it back up every time you drop it and eventually it becomes a habit or routine.

Let’s talk about building better habits and understanding a little bit more about how our brain works.

Create awareness.

Since 95% of our brain runs on autopilot and the triggers are unknown to us unless we pay attention and bring our awareness to them. This is the first step.

Create new triggers that serve you.

We all react to triggers throughout the day. Similar to how you arrive home from a drive and can’t remember driving. You were on autopilot subconsciously reacting to various triggers.

Now, obviously triggers aren’t bad. They are there to help us save energy. It would be exhausting to think about everything that’s going on while driving.

Since we are talking about creating or maintaining the habit of using your daily planner, then perhaps adjusting your morning routine is the key.

For example, if you make a coffee in the morning and then sit at your desk to begin working, try sitting at the kitchen table before you go to your desk. This will interrupt your regular routine and make it easier to remember to work in your planner.

Reward yourself to help make the habit stick.

Addictive habits, such as drugs and alcohol, are easier to maintain because they have immediate rewards. Your brain lights up with dopamine, which is very pleasurable. Our biology is programmed to crave pleasure. It’s our responsibility to choose healthy pleasures.

Since we aren’t here to create THOSE kinds of habits, adding in a healthy reward can be very helpful. Perhaps it’s a piece of organic dark chocolate.

Or, maybe you restrict yourself from sipping that delicious, aromatic (and pleasurable) coffee until you’re done with your planner.

Set up your environment with reminders.

Why not use what you’ve got? Like your cell phone. Set a timer to remind yourself to review your morning mindset or to take a short break and do push-ups.

It doesn’t matter what habit you’re trying to create, this is a great way to get started and maintain it.

For example, I installed a pull-up bar in my office entrance to inspire myself to stretch more and practice my pull-ups.

Every time I go through the door I either hang and stretch it out, or do a couple pull-ups.

Another example; I often have my yoga mat on the floor of my office so that I see it and am reminded to stretch throughout the day.

Get creative!

Small achievable steps bring big rewards.

The last piece I will leave you with is to make what you want to achieve small enough that it’s not overwhelming.

Once you create a new simple habit, you can start building that one and stacking new habits with it.

So, let’s say you’re doing 2 push-ups every time you get up from your desk. Well, you can build on it by adding 2 more and then stack a few squats on top. Realistically, that’s about 15-seconds of added work where the hard part is already taken care of (the hard part meaning stopping to do anything at all).

A classic saying is that if you want to get in shape, start with one push-up. You can do just ONE, can’t you?!

Apply this rule to anything you want to achieve.

If you want to acquire a new client, make one phone call or send one email.

If you want to learn to be a graphic designer, design one thing every single day (that’s actually how I started my design career many moons ago).

If you want to take on a larger goal, then do yourself a favour and break it down into small bite sized chunks and remember to reward yourself along the way.

To your productivity!

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See you on the inside.