One goal I have in mind while taking part in this 30-day blogging challenge is to develop a blogging habit. I’ve always been sporadic when it comes to blogging, and I’d like to make it a more regular thing.
What is a habit?
A settled or regular tendency or practice, especially one that is hard to give up
– Oxford English Dictionary
There’s no mention of whether this is a favourable practice or not, because habits can be good or bad.
And just as it’s possible to give up a bad habit, it’s also possible to create good habits (you can create bad habits too if you like, but why you would do that intentionally is another matter!)
How do you create a habit?
I don’t have any scientific data for you here, so I’m just going to write from experience.
Over the last year I have developed a running habit. Running is something that I do regularly, and I feel like it would be hard for me to stop doing it. Running has gone from being a chore that I would do occasionally, to something I enjoy and feel compelled to do regularly.
So how did I do it?
I think the most important aspect is regular repetition. When I started, I made myself run 6 days a week without fail. I developed a morning routine and made running a central part of that routine. These days I’m not quite so strict, and might miss a day here and there, but when you start out it’s important to stick to a scrict schedule to make the habit become almost automatic.
That’s why I like the idea of the blogging challenge, as I have to do it every day for thirty days. I’ve also made it part of my routine by having it be the first thing I do in the morning.
As I mentioned in my original post, when starting out I would just run a short 1.7 mile route. This made it fairly easy to overcome any reluctance to get out there, as I didn’t feel overwhelmed by having to run a long distance. Over time, as the habit forms, you can increase the time you spend on it, or not, it’s up to you.
Writing 250 words a day is a realistic and achievable amount, which doesn’t put me off. (Usually I will end up writing more than that, but that’s ok).
Focus on the benefits
It also helped me to focus on the benefits of the practice. There were days when I really didn’t feel like running, because it was cold outside, or raining, or I was just too tired, but I made myself do it anyway, sticking to the routine, and then for the rest of the day I would focus on the positive feelings I got after a run – increased energy, a feeling of accomplishment, and a gradual sense of improving fitness. Whenever I feel like skipping a run, I think about missing out on those benefits, and it’s usually enough to get me out the door.
For me, some of the benefits of blogging include improving my writing skills, interacting with the art community, and having an outlet to express myself in writing.
One thing at a time
Don’t try to develop more than one habit at a time. I’m not saying it’s impossible, but you’re much more likely to succeed if you nail one habit before trying to create a new one.
Running is already a habit for me, so now I can focus on blogging for a while.
How do I know when it’s a habit?
I’ve heard people say it takes a month of daily repetition to form a habit, but I think that probably varies depending on the activity (hopefully it applies to blogging!)
For me, the key is in the ‘hard to give up’ part of the definition. If you practice daily, eventually it becomes such a part of your routine that you should find it becomes hard to miss a day. You’ll do it automatically, without really having to think about it, just like a smoker reaching for a cigarette, and if you do skip it, you may feel some sort of withdrawal symptoms.
If you find yourself in this situation, congratulations! You’ve developed a good habit. Keep it up! 🙂
So… what good habits are you going to work on? Leave a comment to let me know.