In this first week of the Smartstart program I am trying to help you to lay down the foundations of your habit. I encourage you to be gentle with yourself when you set out on a habit journey because like the beginning of anything, you start with no momentum, no rhythm, and an untested idea about what you’re going to do.
Lets cover each of these in turn. First of all you start with no momentum. If you have ever tried to push start a car you will have experienced what no momentum feels like. Whilst your motivation is typically higher at the beginning of a journey, so is the inertia, so getting started requires an extra effort.
Secondly you start with no rhythm. One of the essential characteristics of a working habit is that has a rhythm. Chicka boom, chicka boom, Chicka boom. You are responsible for building your own habit rhythm but at the beginning its like trying to dance whilst you’re hard of hearing and have 2 left feet.
And thirdly you have an untested hypothesis. As I have previously said, a habit is a hypothesised “how” to get to get the outcome you really want. And maybe it’s a useful hypothesis, and maybe it’s not. But almost definitely it needs some tweaking. The good thing though is it doesn’t really matter too much where you start, because if we combine the “working in” with the “working on” then eventually we will get to where we want to go.
And as I said yesterday, the hypothesis or “how” includes not only what your habit is, but also when you’re going to do, it and for how long and how frequently, and how you’ll problem solve your way around the obstacles that will inevitably present themselves between you and your goal.
So in this first week, we ideally want to combine some “working in” experimentation with some “working on” reflection. Building momentum, rhythm and a good habit hypothesis takes time. The purpose of Smartstart is to help you to build these habit foundations.
So here’s a suggestion about a frequency goal you might consider setting for yourself this week. What about if you tried to do your habit 3 times this week. Of course you can do more if you want, but acknowledge the fact that starting can be hard for the reasons I mentioned, and it’s always good to be empathetic with yourself. By trying to do your habit 3 times this week, as well as consuming the morning and evening Smartstart program content, every day you’ll make a good start on your momentum, rhythm and the testing of your habit hypothesis.
During the “working on” reflection check-ins you’ll also start to uncover some of the obstacles that will try and block you from your habit. You know, like that part of you that revolts at the sacrifices this new habit forces on them. Yeah I hear you sacrificer. We’ve got some empathy coming up for you too in a video later in the week.