How long does it truly take to develop a habit? Are we mistaken in even thinking that habits are a function of time?
This newsletter reviews how to truly develop a habit, and specifically 7 ways to develop the habit of pre-week planning (and help others develop the habit).
This is the second blog in a two-part series on pre-week planning. The previous blog covered what pre-week planning is, when to pre-week plan, where to pre-week plan, and why we pre-week plan.
Let’s get into it!
What Truly Makes a Habit?
Some claim habits are developed over time – 21 days, 30 days, 60 days, or even 8 months. Which is it?
A study in the journal Neuroscience suggests that habits are not a function of time, but of repetition. This makes sense because a habit is defined as a repeated behavior that becomes intuitive. The more you do something, the more it becomes a habit.
The study suggests that an action becomes habit in as few as 50 repetitions (depending on the person and action).
This explains the difference between the “time” studies on habits – some people may complete 50+ repetitions of a certain action in 21 days, 60 days, or 8 months.
The key then to developing a new habit is repetition – 50 or more repetitions (depending on the person) to be more exact.
So remember going forward – habit is a function of repetition.
Make Pre-Week Planning a Habit
If pre-week planning is not currently a habit, it can be difficult to remember to do, even though it’s a simple process. Simply put, It’s a new action in your life.
So, how can you practice pre-week planning 50 plus times, until it becomes instinctive and becomes a habit? Here are seven suggestions:
- Find a time each week when you can consistently plan
- Create a repeating event on your weekly online calendar with a reminder
- Set an “alarm” on your phone and title it “Pre-Week Planning”
- Use the “Habit Tracker” – print it out, place it in your planner or by your computer
- Do pre-weep planning with others (family members, co-workers, or friends)
- Invest in a BYB Planner or Digital Planner designed around pre-week planning
- Opt-in to the free “pre-week planning” reminder (you can opt-out anytime)
The “Habit Tracker” is a straightforward one-page accountability sheet to track how you’re doing and your goal of 50 plus repetitions. We highly recommend printing out a copy and using it as a bookmarker in your planner or placing it by your computer if you use digital planners. Track your accomplishment!
The goal is to practice this habit 50 plus times, knowing that with each repetition it becomes easier, instinctive, and part of who you are.
Remember Why You Pre-Week Plan
Forming new habits requires motivation — an understanding of “the why.”
So, as recap, why do you pre-week plan?
- To accomplish 30-50% more each week (500 – 1,000 additional action items / yr)
- To prioritize health and relationships (and create life balance)
- To do what matters most in work and life
- To live with purpose and direction
- To take your personal vision and goals into your daily schedule and see results
- To reduce stress in your time management and life
Here’s to your new habit of pre-week planning and to you becoming your best!
(To the right is the “Habit Tracker” for pre-week planning if you’d like a copy. Click on it to open it, or click here.)
“I am the servant of all great people.
And, alas, of all failures as well
Those who are great, I have made great.
Those who are failures, I have made failures.
I am not a machine, though I work with the precision of a machine.
Plus, the intelligence of a person.
You may run me for profit, or run me for ruin, it makes
no difference to me.
Take me, train me, be firm with me and I will place
the world at your feet.
Be easy with me, and I will destroy you.
Who am I?
I AM HABIT!”
– Author Unknown
Tune in to Episode 364 of Becoming Your Best, and let Annie teach you how to breathe your way through right into your true self.
Tune in to Episode 363 of Becoming Your Best, and learn about the U.S. Navy concepts and principles that can transform your company.
Tune in to Episode 362 of Becoming Your Best and learn to avoid following an emotional DNA rut that no longer serves you.