Many people don’t give it much thought, but writing a successful blog is a commitment.  How successful this one will be remains to be seen, but it is nonetheless a commitment I made back at the beginning of summer.  Keeping up with that commitment is difficult because I had never kept a diary or journal and really never made it a habit to sit down and write.  I’ve been told by many that I am a good writer and that I should try to pen a book so writing a blog shouldn’t be that difficult, should it?

Writing a steady stream of riveting mini essays hasn’t turned out to be so easy.  The many challenges and shortcomings of companies these days provide an almost limitless supply of topics.  I should easily be able to regale followers with stories of my amazing feats and powerful insights without much effort, right?  The problem is that it hasn’t become a reliable habit yet and “stuff” has been getting in the way.  That got me to thinking (again) about the new habits that I help people develop through coaching.

I find that noted author and motivational speaker Brian Tracy’s approach to forming new habits works best:

First, make a decision.   Decide clearly that you are going to begin acting in a specific way 100% of the time, whenever that behavior is required.  For example, if you decide to arise early and exercise each morning, set your clock for a specific time, and when the alarm goes off, immediately get up, put on your exercise clothes and begin your exercise session.

Second, never allow an exception to your new habit pattern during the formative stages. Don’t make excuses or rationalizations.  Don’t let yourself off the hook.  If you resolve to get up at 6:00 AM each morning, discipline yourself to get up at 6:00 AM, every single morning until this becomes automatic.

Third, tell others that you are going to begin practicing a particular behavior.  It is amazing how much more disciplined and determined you will become when you know that others are watching you to see if you have the willpower to follow through on your resolution.

Fourth, visualize yourself performing or behaving in a particular way in a particular situation.  The more often you visualize and imagine yourself acting as if you already had the new habit, the more rapidly this new behavior will be accepted by your subconscious mind and become automatic.

Fifth, create an affirmation that you repeat over and over to yourself.  This repetition dramatically increases the speed at which you develop the new habit.  For example, you can say something like; “I get up and get going immediately at 6:00 AM each morning!”  Repeat these words the last thing before you fall asleep.  In most cases, you will automatically wake up minutes before the alarm clock goes off, and soon you will need no alarm clock at all.

Sixth, resolve to persist in the new behavior until it is so automatic and easy that you actually feel uncomfortable when you do not do what you have decided to do.

Seventh, and most important, give yourself a reward of some kind for practicing the new behavior.  Each time you reward yourself, you reaffirm and reinforce the behavior.  Soon you begin to associate, at an unconscious level, the pleasure of the reward with the behavior.  You set up your own force field of positive consequences that you unconsciously look forward to as the result of engaging in the behavior or habit that you have decided upon.

Since I haven’t been following my own advice, I’ll clearly need to work on this with my own coach next time we talk.  Having a coach means having someone in your corner that is committed to your success. Imagine a relationship, which by design, places total focus on you.  Imagine the benefit of regular conversations with a skilled professional.  Imagine a safe place to think, to dream, to clarify, and to achieve.  What will you discuss during your next call with your coach?