Amanda Cade

Worth It! (Things to try, read, watch, hear, and discuss)

I’m a big fan of TED talks, and there’s always something new and interesting on my activity feed. I also frequently turn to the TED site for talks to integrate into trainings and presentations, so I get to watch them at work, too. Early this week, I came across this talk, where Matt Cutts spends just three minutes outlining a simple way to make life changes:

The idea gels with what I learned from reading The Power of Habit (one of my favorite reads of 2018), and reminded me that I’ve been meaning to post about new habits for a while. If you’re looking to make some life changes, here are few things that I’ve found helpful:

Choose small habits for big goals

cleaningLet’s be honest: we usually fail at big sweeping changes. Eating one extra serving of vegetables every day, for example, is a lot more attainable than completely eliminating sugar (especially for me, because sugar is life). Decluttering one area of your house every week is much more doable than completely overhauling your space in one manic weekend. I’m not saying those kinds of things can’t happen, but they’re a lot more difficult, and they often aren’t sustainable. I’ve done the top-to-bottom declutter, for example, and I have to admit that it didn’t take long for things to start piling up again.

Instead, break things down into small things that you can make part of your daily or weekly routine, and as each one becomes a habit, you’re consistently working towards your larger goal.

Create reminders and accountability

Don't ForgetWhen I decided I needed to drink more water (because surprisingly, coffee is not a perfect substitute), I put rubber bands on my left wrist every morning. Each time I finished eight ounces, I moved one to my right wrist. The reminder was right in front of me, and I got a little boost of satisfaction every time a band switched sides. I’ve also used checklists and Post It notes (like “Go clean up the kitchen!” on my bathroom mirror, where I’d always see it when I was getting ready for bed).

You can also ask a friend or family member to help you remember, which creates both accountability and support. One of my friends, who is working on a novel, asked me to be part of her support team about a year ago, so every night around six I send her a text asking if she’s done her writing for the day.

Reward yourself

I’ve written before about the impact of small rewards on motivation, and it’s worth mentioning again. Charles Duhigg’s book breaks down why habits form and why they linger, and a huge part of the science is based on mental, physical, or emotional boost that comes from the behavior. If you’re using an accountability system (like my rubber bands), you have a small reward built in already.

Screenshot 2020-02-02 at 7.24.28 AM

I’ve also had a lot of success in delaying something I normally do until the habit I’m building is covered. For example, for many years the very first thing I did every morning was drink a cup of coffee. Then I decided not to allow myself to have coffee until I’d had my first eight ounces of water, and now reaching for water first is automatic.

happy cool

How do you make changes in your life? What are you thinking about changing? Let’s talk!

20 thoughts on “Worth Trying: Start a New Habit

  1. Forgiving the heresy about coffee not being a perfect substitute for water, how in the world can you reach for a glass of water before you’ve had your coffee? I’d stumble, skid and crash before my first cup!🤣🤣

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Amanda Cade says:

      It took a lot of discipline at first, and I definitely drink the water really fast so I can get to the coffee. Lol

      Liked by 2 people

  2. The Eclectic Contrarian says:

    I have to create reminders! Either have too much on my plate or my naturally forgetful mind will get me. And coffee is for certain!!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Amanda Cade says:

      Reminders are great. I sometimes use a daily calendar reminder on my phone when I’m trying to make something stick.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Katherine says:

    Hey, Amanda!
    I also watch Ted Talks, especially when I am too tired and feel like I have lost all my energy and have no hope left.

    Ted always finds a way of cheering me up, gives me hope and faith that I can do it, moving further and becoming better! 😀

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Amanda Cade says:

      I know! There are so many amazing talks. I wish I had time to watch them all.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Katherine says:

        I believe you, but I don’t really think that we can ever do that. They always post new quality content! ^_^

        Liked by 1 person

    2. That’s nice. ❤️❤️❤️

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Ladysag77 says:

    I really enjoy your posts Amanda! Comprehensive and humorous too. Since uncovering a difficult and painful memory that is the pit of my trauma, I have started really healing in a transformative way. I established rituals in the morning to start my day, self care practices that I do before I walk out my door. I’m extremely dedicated to them because I can see and feel how much they have helped me remain happy. I have discovered my true self in practicing them and I won’t give that up for anything, no turning back. My partner sometimes jokes, “does spirituality tale a day off”? To which I reply, nah…I have squandered too much time not taking care of my spirit so I refuse to waste anymore precious time and love my life to the fullest. That’s how much these habits mean to me.
    A myself have had a dream for many years now to hold my own TED talk, I so admire the platform. I have watched many hundreds of them and find them so intriguing. I’m working my way through understanding how to either get nominated or enter the TED fellows program.
    Again, thank you for your blog here on WordPress, it’s a bright spot to my day😁🙏💜

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Amanda Cade says:

      Thank you so much for your kind words about the blog. This comment really made my day!
      I’m so glad that you’re healing, and it sounds like you’ve found the right practices for you. That’s wonderful.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Ladysag77 says:

        Awww thank you so much, it’s relationships like this that I value and find so great on here!! I started my blog in October 2018 and in the past few months I have really started engaging more with other bloggers and spending a lot more time on WordPress in general. What a fantastic platform this is for me. Thank you for your support, I’m a firm believer in self care practices so thank you for recognizing their importance!! Enjoy your day my friend😊

        Liked by 2 people

  5. Paul says:

    Interestingly, creating daily habits is something I already do and it can work very well. For accountability, I keep track of each (tentative) habit in a notebook so that I can look back at the end of the week and see how I’ve done.

    This also allows me to see what habits I’m not sticking to and decide whether I need to push myself more or recognise that that particular goal just isn’t that important to me at the moment.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Amanda Cade says:

      Oh, I like the idea of keeping an ongoing list for reflection. Thanks for the tip!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. coffeeonthehouse says:

    I love the rubber band trick. I have been looking for ways to drink more water and most days I forget till it’s night time, and I don’t want to load up on water then..for obvious reasons. I find adding a habit that I really enjoy is a breeze. Like reading a book a week. I enjoy reading, so I find time for it no matter what. And adding a habit that is a work around for something I hate is easy too. For example, I hate picking up the phone and calling..anyone. Really, I don’t know why. Even ordering a take out. So I started cooking instead..and it wasn’t hard..tiring sometimes, but not hard. But adding a habit that doesn’t have immediate working very hard. And breaking a that’s a whole other discussion.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Amanda Cade says:

      The rubber band trick really works. It also helped me eat more vegetables. ☺


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