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Can I change old habits?

Posted by Deidre Rienzo on

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I’ve always been the kind of person who waits until I have no clean clothes to do laundry…who waits until I can’t see my table anymore to clean my house…who tries to ride my bike 30 miles after not touching my bike for months…who reaches out to 50 prospects at once after months of no outreach at all.

In my defense, when I finally do these things—I do them with gusto. The house is spic and span, the laundry is perfect, 30 miles have been traversed (though I nearly passed out) and 50 prospects have been handled with care. When I’m done, all is well in the world. Until everything starts creeping up again…

All or nothing is my style. It always has been.

But as I get older, I’m firmly starting to believe that slow and steady wins the race. The more I talk to the most productive people I know—the people whose laundry is always done and houses are always clean—I’m discovering that they do less, more regularly. And unlike me, entire days of their lives have not disappeared into a laundry abyss.

  • They tidy their houses every morning
  • They do laundry a few times per week
  • They exercise for 20 minutes a day
  • They grocery shop often
  • They shave their legs every day

If you are this person, I envy you.

I’m fascinated by you!

And I’m trying really hard to be like you.

The only area I’ve made progress up till now is client projects. Pretty early on, I realized I couldn’t do them all at once. Sometimes I fall back into old habits, but for the most part, tapping away at them gradually is part of my routine. Maybe it’s because clients pay me? I owed it to them to find a better way. But nobody’s going to pay me to do my laundry or my marketing.

I don’t know if it’s possible to completely change the life operating system that comes naturally to me. But I’ve been trying. Here’s how:

  • For the past two weeks, my house has stayed reasonably clean because I tidy up for 10 minutes while my coffee is brewing
  • I’ve been throwing a load of laundry in a few mornings a week, before my basket overflows
  • Instead of irregularly reaching out to lots of prospects at a time—I’ve been saying hello to a few per week. (At least when it comes to marketing, I have a guide to follow for slow and steady marketing that pays off. If you don’t, check out the 30 Minutes a Day Marketing Plan for Creative Professionals.)
  • I’m trying to weed the garden a little at a time (instead of waiting until it’s a jungle)
  • And yes, I’m shaving my legs every day

Act as if, right?

These actions have not become second nature yet. But the internet says it takes 66 days to form a habit. I’m not giving up!

Hi, I’m Deidre. In my posts, I talk about my voyage down the road of self-employment as a web copywriter, my achievements and roadblocks along the way, and what I’m learning as I go (with Marketing Mentor as my guide). To keep in touch, sign up for my un-newsletter here

*Slow and steady photo, courtesy, Shutterstock.

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