It’s hard to create new habits. We all try, and sometimes we fail.
But other people are able to make new habits. We see it all the time that someone else is able to succeed.
What are they doing? How were they able to create a new habit?
Create New Habits – Ideas
My wife is always pursuing new exciting ideas. She has lofty goals and is very inspiring.
One of her problems though, was she would jump from idea to idea, without any traction. She would never commit to anything for long enough to see it flourish.
And there was nothing inherently wrong with any of her dreams – they were all great. It was the lack of discipline that was missing.
When she announced bigger plans for running her own business, sales, and entrepreneurship, we needed to hit the brakes. I was very much in favor or her pursuing these passions. I wanted her to succeed and she has the skills.
But her work habit was that of a kindergartener. “Oh look, it’s snack time. I quit.”
Create New Habits – Pet Project
So, we came up with a pet project. Before she could pursue any more business dreams, she had to pick a different goal. She could pick any activity, preferably something she enjoyed, but had to stick with it for 6 months.
I would have chosen something easy, like eating fruit every day. But she’s very passionate. She chose to workout at Orange Theory.
If you don’t know what Orange Theory is, it’s like a gym, but they torture you. At a normal gym you can run on the treadmill. At Orange Theory, they make you run, but then do insane interval training of lifting weights, then make you run some more.
I gave her every chance to bail. I said Orange Theory would be very difficult, and she needed to succeed at the pet project in order to proceed.
To my surprise, she stuck with it. She was very dedicated and an Orange Theory nazi. She was there 3 days a week – sometimes more – and surpassed my wildest dreams about what she could achieve.
And this pet project had nothing to do with weight loss or fitness. It was about goals. And pursuing dreams.
Now that we’re years past this experiment, she recalls it fondly. She’ll say how a new habit reminds her of her Orange Theory days. Or when she’s struggling with new sales goals, she’ll ask if I can motivate her again like I did with Orange Theory. (Sorry momma, that boat only sailed once…)
Create New Habits – A Friend
I have a friend. Let’s say his name is John.
He’s the nicest person in the world. He’s incredibly gifted, talented, and helpful. He’s always willing to drop what he’s doing to help a friend. And if you met John, you’d think he was the nicest person in the world too.
The problem is, John constantly struggles with dreams. He wants to pursue something wild and interesting, yet never pulls the trigger. Whenever he has a great idea, he somehow feels unworthy and unable to proceed.
He’s more comfortable in his misery, than he is to chase a dream.
I don’t know how to motivate John either. There’s some serious self-doubt rummaging around in his head, that no one else is able to see.
Everyone thinks John should be chasing a passionate dream too – that is, everyone except John himself.
And John is definitely not like my wife. He doesn’t have the same strength to accept failure and defeat. And that’s ok. No one is like my wife. My wife is mayor of crazy town when it comes to new things.
Create New Habits – A Calling
If you have an itch, you need to scratch it. I don’t know what John’s itch is, he won’t tell me. He can hardly figure it out for himself.
But he knows. Deep down there’s something. He knows what God is calling him to do. And he needs to go do it.
Listen, maybe his dream is to live halfway around the world and help starving children. I don’t know. But obviously that’s a lofty (and scary) goal. I couldn’t even commit to that.
But if living half way around the world is the ultimate goal, let’s call that a 10. Don’t go after the 10 tomorrow. That’s too hard and you’re not ready.
First, take a baby step and make the first effort towards that dream. Do something smaller. Do a 1 out of 10. Maybe volunteer locally, help at an orphanage, and commit to it, and see how that feels, before chasing your wildest dreams.
Pick something. Pick a pet project. And commit to it.
It’ll take you places you never could have imagined.
And most importantly, be walking with God. Ask him for help. And he’ll show up in incredible ways.
Create New Habits – Action Steps:
- You’re called to pursue a dream, chase it
- Start with a baby step and challenge yourself
Are you scared to try something new? What’s holding you back? Have you ever thought a small pet project could lead to something bigger?