Slow habits

I want to share with you the concept of slow habits. A slow habit is a way to build a positive behavior over a long time. Rather than jumping in head first, it’s more of a gradual dip-my-toe-in-then-casually-wade-in approach.

Here’s how you do it:

  • Start with the absolute smallest step. If you want to run a 5K, start with lacing up your shoes and stepping out the door on the first day. Don’t even run anywhere. Seriously. Not even around the block. Get your running gear on and just walk out the door. Do the same thing the next day too. And the day after that. This super easy first step is to get your mind in the right place and get you paying attention to your new habit.
  • Spread the steps out over two months. Use a slow build, and I mean a really… slow… build. Start with walking out the door in your running shoes, then run to the end of the driveway and back. Then run up the driveway and down the street a few houses. Each step should take about 3 days, so you’ll need 20 tiny steps. Do the math before you begin.
  • Focus on one habit at a time, but stick with all the other ones you created. You’ll keep building on all of your other habits. Soon, you’ll have a whole arsenal of awesome habits you’ve created. Binders full of habits, if you will.
  • Choose a single time per day to reflect on your day. Did you do your “get dressed and go out the door” step for the day? For me, I do this around 8pm. It’s when I’m relaxing after work and cooking dinner. I can look back and say “yes, I did put my running shoes on today.” If I can’t then I still have time to do put on my shoes. Keep a Seinfeld calendar handy to make a green check at the end of each day.

It’s important not to rush to the end. You have your entire life to build these habits. Seriously. The rest of your life. Say you’re 35 now and you’ll live to the ripe old age of 80. I hope you live longer than that, but for the sake of example… If you create one habit every two months, you’ll have the opportunity to build 270 habits. Can you think of 270 habits you’d like to build? I know I can’t.

You have plenty of time, so enjoy the habit-forming process. Don’t be in a hurry to get to the last step overnight. As they say…

A habit formed overnight,
won’t last until the light.

~Kevin Holesh (I just made it up)