Category: habits

The Truth About Changing For Someone (+ Why It Probably Won’t Work)

Trying to change for someone? It might not work. Click through for habit change tips and goal-setting tips you haven't read before! #habits #goodhabits #badhabits #relationshiptips“I’m sort of shooting myself in the foot here, but no. I don’t think you should buy it. I can’t, in good faith, take your money.”

I laugh awkwardly as my friend squints at me over her laptop.

We’re co-working in a pretty, light-filled coffee shop downtown. I’ve been telling her about my course Make It Stick Habit School and (shameless brag!) how it’s helped people build writing habits, gym habits, better sleep routines – all kinds of stuff.

And her very sweet response was “That sounds like something my husband needs. I’m going to buy it and make him take it.”

I was incredibly flattered that she had so much faith in my methods that she wanted her husband to benefit from them. I loved that she wanted to support the work I do! What a great friend!

But here’s the truth: Change is hard enough when we’re trying to do it for our OWN reasons. It’s DAMN NEAR IMPOSSIBLE when we’re trying to change for other people. Click To Tweet
Think about it. Which is more motivating: Changing your spending habits because you’re ready to live that roommate-free life? Or because your mom keeps shaming you about your credit card debt? 

Is it easier to build a running habit because you know it’ll help you sleep better or because your partner nags you about your blood pressure?

Are you more likely to break your nightly happy hour habit because you’d rather put that money towards a vacation? Or because your best friend makes “jokes” about how you’re a lush?

Sure, we’ve all made choices to avoid shame, embarrassment, or nagging. This is why I dig all my chip crumbs out of the dip before Kenny gets home from work! And why he speed cleans for an hour before I get home from any trip!

But.
Making big changes to our daily lives from a place of obligation or negativity is unsustainable. We can’t shame ourselves into lasting change. Click To Tweet

This is why I wouldn’t let me friend buy my class for her husband; I knew it wouldn’t work for him.

In fact, in the ‘before we get started’ module of Make It Stick Habit School, we talk about choosing one habit to work on for the next six weeks. Then we double – and triple! – check that we’re all changing these habits for the right reasons.

Because our friends are doing it? Nope.
Because our partner gets annoyed about it? Nah-uh.
Because our parents wish we would? Keep going.

But a change we really, truly want to make? That we’re excited about? Ding ding ding! There we go! That’s a habit worth changing!

Change that sticks is change that’s motivated by self-love and commitment and an understanding of how we’ll benefit. We need this understanding to fall back on when we’re tempted to skip our daily meditation or swing through Target for some mindless shopping. Shame and obligation make for poor support systems.

And if you can’t find way to get excited about changing something you ‘should’ change? Take a step back and give yourself some space. Life is long and no one has to be great at everything. You’re allowed to change the things you want to change and leave some parts of your life gloriously un-perfected.

I want to hear from you! Have you ever tried to change something or make/break a habit out of shame or obligation? How’d that go?

P.S. the LIVE version of Habit School opens for enrollment on January 6th, grab your spot on the wait list here!

Photo by Charles Etoroma on Unsplash

When To Start A New Habit (and when to keep plugging away at the old ones)

Wondering when to start a new habit? Or if you should keeping working on solidifying an old one? Click through for tips on goal setting, building good habits and breaking bad ones!

I see the question pop into the chat box, followed immediately by three thumbs up emojis.

And then a “Yeah, I was wondering that, too!”

And a “YESSSSS.”

Which is how I realized I should probably write a blog post answering one of the most common questions I get when I talk + teach about habits.

One of the most common questions I get from Make It Stick Habit School students (enrollment for the live version opens March 19th!) is “How will I know that I’ve built my habit? How will I know that it’s ‘done’ and I can move on the next one?”

Which is a great question, right? Because we all want to believe that if we do our morning pages or work out or drink green tea for, like, five days we have a new habit!

But that’s not how it works. If you’re wondering when to start a new habit – or if should keep strengthening an older one – this post is for you.

When To Start A New Habit (+ when to keep plugging away at the old ones)

1. When in doubt, work on your new habit for longer than you think you need to

Have you ever done that thing where you do something good or productive for, like, seven days in a row and then you high five yourself over your new habit? And then you take on another new habit on day eight?

Yeah! Me, too! That’s called “The first two weeks of January, 2002 – 2015”.

It feels good to tell ourselves that a habit is ‘done’ or that it’s solidified! But the truth is that ‘21-days-to-a-new-habit’ thing is total B.S. Psychologists says it’s actually closer to 66 days. And it can vary from 12 days to 265 days (!!!) depending on the person and the habit.

When we tell ourselves that our tender, fragile new habit is firm and ready to face the challenges and temptations of the real world, we’re setting ourselves up for failure.

So here’s my rule of thumb: work on one new habit at a time, for at least 65 days. If you’re not sure if your new habit ‘took’? Work on it even longer.

Habits – just like most things in life – take longer than we’d like. In fact, a truism I’ve come to accept is: Pretty much everything takes twice as long and costs twice as much as we’d like. But if we know that we can budget our time, money, and energy accordingly. Click To Tweet

2. You’ll know your new habit is ‘set’ when your life feels weird without it

I have a nearly-set-in-stone set of morning habits. I’ve been doing them for so long that if I miss one of the habits I feel off balance and incomplete. If I don’t read fiction on the couch? If I don’t make my bed? WHO AM I EVEN I DON’T KNOW WHAT TO DO WITH MYSELF.

That awkward incomplete feeling? That’s how you know that a habit is ‘set’ and that it’s truly taken root in your life.

If you feel strange when if you don’t meditate, don’t text your mom, don’t drink a big glass of water with every meal – congrats! You’ve developed a habit that’s part of your life. Go forth and prosper! Enjoy the benefits of a nearly-on-autopilot habit what will make your life awesome without you having to think about it!

But if you feel sneaky or relieved when you skip a habit – like you’re getting away with something – that means you’ve got a ways to go before it’s really part of you life.

But I want to hear from you! Do you try to convince yourself that a habit is solidified way too early? What habit are you working on right now? I’m ‘saving’ my habit for the next round of Habit School so I can work on it alongside everybody!

P.S. How to strengthen your good habit muscle!

Photo by Toa Heftiba on Unsplash

8 relationship habits that will make everything easier, smoother, and more fun

Can you turn being a good partner into a habit? Are there such things as “good relationship habits”? Yes! Read on to learn eight of them! #relationshiptips #habits #selfhelp #selfdevelopment #lifehacks #communicationtips

Can you make it a habit to be a good partner? Are there such things as “good relationship habits”? (I can hear you being skeptical from all the way over here.) 

You might be sick of hearing me talk about habits by now (not stopping anytime soon!), but I truly believe that they’re one of the secrets to a life well-lived. Studies vary, but psychologists and neurologists estimate that between 40 and 95% of what we do every day is habitualized – including how we interact with our partners.

So it stands to reason that building even one good relationship habit (or breaking a bad one), could have a big impact on your relationship. If you’re not sure where to start, read on!

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The Secret To Getting What You Want Is Asking For It (Here’s How)

Not sure how to ask for what you want? Looking for goal-setting advice or tips for chasing your dreams? Read on for self-development tips you won't read elsewhere! #goalsetting #motivation #productivity #getwhatyouwant
When Jen’s email pings into my inbox, my first reaction is to lean back and squint.


I’ve asked Jen for feedback on the course she just took and I’m expecting/hoping for a few kind words, some constructive criticism, and maybe some hard numbers if she’s willing to share them. Some numbers in the low four figures.

That’s what I was expecting.

Instead, Jen told me that my course had given her the courage to negotiate a 12,000 raise. That’s almost $14,000 for us Yanks! Whaaaaaaaat?!

And while I am, of course, happy that Bank Boost nudged Jen to negotiate for a bigger salary, the truth is this: Jen got what she wanted because she asked for it.

There are a million blog posts bouncing around the internet that tell us how to reach goals, manifest our dreams, and change our habits. (I know this because I write a lot of those blog posts.)

Many of these blog posts walk us through the art of getting clear on what we want, breaking our goals into teeny, tiny steps, and working towards what we want on a consistent basis. And these are all important parts of getting what we want.

But. None of that means anything if we’re not willing to ask for it. Let's say you want to get into an amazing party. Breaking goals into little pieces is walking up the sidewalk, asking for what you want is knocking on the door. Click To Tweet

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25 Super Tiny Resolution Ideas You Could Actually Keep

Looking for tiny resolution ideas that are actually doable? A resolution you'll actually stick with or good habits you'll keep? Click through for 25 resolutions to try this year! #goalsetting #resolutions #habits

Our resolution ideas are often – what’s the word? – unsustainable? Unrealistic? Way too ambitious which sets us up to fail and then feel bad about ourselves thus creating a vicious cycle of self-doubt?

(that last one was 22 words)

If you’re nodding along because you’ve already abandoned your resolutions or good habits by January 9th, may I be so bold as to suggest one (or maybe two AT MOST) of these tiny, super doable resolutions instead?

When we succeed repeatedly at tiny things, we're building the courage to take on big things. Click To Tweet

25 super tiny resolution ideas you could actually do

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Plant a seed for Future You + 9 ideas to get you started

Planting seeds for future you is one of the best self-development, self-care tips out there. Click through for tips on maintaining motivation and productivity!
“I just want you to know how much I appreciate you. I mean, none of this would be possible if it weren’t for you.”

I sniff noisily into my Kleenex.

“Like, NONE of this.”

This is not a conversation I have out loud. I do, however, have some version of this conversation in my mind with my 2008 self on a regular basis.

My 2008 self – that scrappy, newly-single, saddled with $50,000 of school debt self – had the gumption and forethought to plant the seeds for the life I have today.

My 2008 self paid $375 a month on her school loans, even when she was living on her own and her take-home pay was $2,000 a month.

My 2008 self spent every lunch hour leaving comments on other blogs, building friendships and professional relationships I still have today.

My 2008 self slathered on moisturizer with SPF every day, even though she thought she didn’t need it. Even when it was overcast and cold.

And my 2018 self is reaping the benefits. Thanks Former Self! You’re the best! I love you!

I not exactly a bastion of forethought. I’m actually the captain of the S.S. Instant Gratification. Left to my less-great inclinations, I head up team Why Don’t I See Results Yet Let’s Give Up.

But at the risk of really running this metaphor into the ground, that’s not how seeds or plants or plans work.

I’d never plant a marigold seed and return the next day expecting a flower. I wouldn’t dig up the seeds after two days and yell at them. I’d water them and give them the time, space, and sun they needed to grow.

We'd never plant a seed and expect a flower the next day. Plant seeds for Future You and then step back, have patience, and give them time to grow. Click To Tweet

In my course Bank Boost* we do something called an Earning Spree. For six weeks, we get out of our comfort zones together and do all sorts of things to bring in extra money. Some of the things we do bring immediate dollars. We sell old sports equipment on Craigslist. We start driving for Lyft.

But we also plant seeds for our future selves, for our future financial health. We send pitches. We run promotions. We finally post about our dog-sitting services on Facebook and Nextdoor. We ask for a raise or send out feelers for a new job.

And maybe the results are not quite as immediate as finally selling that Nordic-track, but they add up. They bloom into something wonderful.

9 ways to plant seeds for Future You

1. Set up an auto-transfer from your checking account to your savings. $15 a month. $75. Maybe your savings account is in another bank so you’re less likely to fuss with it. Slowly but surely, you’ll build a nest-egg without even thinking about it.

2. If there’s something that dramatically improves your life but you always forget to buy – vitamins, new toothbrush heads, non-hole-y underwear – sign up for a monthly subscription service that delivers those life-improving things to your doorstep.

Or just buy them in bulk.

3. Similarly, if there’s a service that dramatically improves your life and you go too long between appointments – therapy, massages, car detailing – schedule your next appointment as you finish your current one. If you really want to create accountability, pre-pay so you don’t skip out.

4. Create a habit of sending one ‘reach out’ message every day. A DM on social media telling someone you appreciate their work, an email to someone you met at a conference. Future You will have an amazing network of friends and professional peers.

5. When you know you’ve got a tough time coming up, sit down with your calendar and literally schedule breaks and fun into your month. In three weeks, you’ll be so glad you had the foresight to schedule that matinee with your sister or that quiet night at home.

6. Put granola bars (or another snack of your choice) in your bag, in your desk, and in your glove compartment. I swear to you, doing this saves me hundreds of dollars every year and prevents so many mid-afternoon-out-and-about Taco Bell runs.

7. Open your calendar for 2019 and block off one weekend each quarter. What are you going to do on those weekends? Who knows? But since you’ve saved the space, it’s less likely that you’ll reach the end of the year saying “I never took that trip!”

8. Got an idea? Buy the url.

9. Going on a trip or vacation? Put fresh sheets on the bed, make sure you’ve got some pizza in the freezer, and schedule an Instacart delivery for a few hours after you get home.

I want to hear from you! What seeds did Former You plant that you’re now harvesting? What seeds can you plant right now? Tell us in the comments to create public accountability!

Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash