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How to Give Birth to New Habits

By Linda Sapadin, Ph.D

Some stuff just never seems to get done.

If you've got young kids, you may consider it a victory every time you get your hectic household through another day. So, of course, something’s going to get put on the back burner.

But how long will it be on the back burner? How will you ever get to doing what you really want to do if you’re always using up your energy reacting to the latest crisis?

And what happens when your kids get older? Will it still be just as hectic? Will you be easily drawn back into the latest family drama?

If so, it’s time for you to develop a daily discipline that will help you achieve what you say you want to do. So, first, be clear about what you want to accomplish. If you’re fumbling around in the dark, it’s hard to see what you’re looking for.

Once you know what you want to do, you need to differentiate the goal from the actions you must take to reach that goal. For instance, there’s a difference between wanting to be a writer and wanting to write. If you don’t do the second, you won’t achieve the first.

Then too, there’s a difference between wanting to be successful and wanting to work hard to be successful. If you don’t know what you want to do and if you’re not willing to put in the time to develop your skills, you won’t achieve the first.

You know the truism, if you want something done, ask the busiest person. That seems counter-intuitive. Why the busiest person? Because as we all intuitively know (but don’t always acknowledge), is that busy people have created the discipline and habits that permit them to get things done in a timely matter.

Now what about the rest of us? It’s often, “if not today, I’ll do it tomorrow; or whenever I get around to it.” Sounds good. Everything doesn’t have to be done right away.

But for too many of us, “I’ll do it tomorrow” is code for, “I don’t believe I can do this; I’m scared; I can’t change; it’s too much for me; I don’t want to be bothered.”

If this describes you, it’s time to shake things up, despite your fears, despite your hesitations.

Rather than focusing on “everything” you must do to reach your goal, create a time slot during the day or evening when you will devote your energies to tackling a tough task.

Perhaps you want to complete a long postponed chore. Or, your dream is to initiate a new activity. Or, you’ve always wanted to learn more about a field that fascinates you. Or, you’re interested in developing an intriguing idea. Whatever it is you choose to do during that time, be sure to maintain focus amid the chaos of your insecurities.

You don’t need to wish for a seminal moment (like a visit from your fairy godmother) to turn your life around. Nor do you need to wait for a life-changing disaster when you will have no choice but to turn your life around.

What you do need (whether you’re female or male), is to give birth to a new habit. Once you've ingrained that habit as a daily discipline, it will perpetuate itself by creating even more new habits.

What will happen after that? You'll no longer be putting off what you say you want to do. for you'll be too busy doing what you want to do.

“Start by doing what’s necessary,
then do what’s possible;
and suddenly you are doing the impossible.”

~ St. Francis of Assisi

Copyright © 2015: Linda Sapadin, Ph.D
Linda Sapadin is a psychologist and personal coach in private practice who specializes in helping people enrich their lives, enhance their relationships and overcome self-defeating patterns of behavior. For more information about her work, contact her by email or visit her website at PsychWisdom.
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