As we wrap up the Morning Habit module, let’s be optimistic and say you’ve done fairly well with your new habit … you’re either waking a bit earlier or you’ve started doing a new morning habit and it’s starting to become a bit automatic. Success!
But where you go from here? What’s next?
First, a word or two about continuing a new habit … even if you’ve been doing it fairly consistently for a month, that doesn’t mean the habit is super automatic yet. Think of it as a structure you’ve been building that is still a bit shaky.
So what do you do with this shaky habit? Well, you can still work at it, still keep some focus on it, until it gets more solid. That means you can do a few things:
- Continue to focus only on this habit for another month. If you focus on this habit, you can slowly expand it for another month (wake a little earlier each week, or do your morning habit a little longer). And even if you don’t expand it but just keep it where it is, you can solidify the foundations of your habit. Lots of people like to take two months to focus on a habit and get it solid, and this is a perfectly respectable and even smart way to do it.
- Start another habit but put it into maintenance mode. Lots of people are eager to start a new habit, but it’s a mistake to just forget about your morning habit and think it will keep going without any focus on it. Instead, if you’d like to keep your current habit going while starting a new habit, you’ll need to work on the method of having a split focus. The way it works: put your first habit (the morning habit, for example) into maintenance mode, while starting a new focus on your second habit. That means that most of your focus will be on remembering to do your second habit, but the first habit (in maintenance mode) will still need a daily reminder and weekly reporting to others or self review. You’ll need less accountability and reminders now that your first habit is more automatic than before, but you still need to remember and review it from time to time. Don’t just forget about it.
- Learn from your habit change but don’t continue it. But what if you don’t really want to continue the habit? Now that you’ve done it for almost a month, you might decide that it’s not all that you’d hoped it to be. When you first started, you had an idea what the habit would be like, but now that you have more information, you can make a more informed decision. You can drop the habit, but try to make the most of your experience by jotting down a handful of things you learned about habit creation: about reminders and accountability and mindfulness and reviews and more. What worked, and what didn’t? What obstacles did you face that you were able to solve, and what other obstacles do you need to work on? Write it all down, and add to this list each month.
Each of these options is equally valid, so pick the one that works for you. What you don’t want to do is just forget about the habit completely. Learn from it, continue to focus on it, or put it into maintenance mode, but don’t let your month of working on this habit go to waste.
I enjoyed working with you on this habit, my friends, and I’m grateful you took the time to do it with me.