Stringing your Habits

Habits; whether good or bad, they are hard to make and break.

Something only becomes a habit when you do it without thinking, so of course at first making new good habits, and breaking old bad habits will be hard. You WILL fall off the wagon, and you will need to jump right back up on and start again until you do it without even noticing.

The key to success is to string your habits. It's the only way you'll be reminded to do the new habit until it becomes one.

You cannot pick 12 new habits and expect them all to stick on the first day. That's not creating a new habit, that trying to change who you are, and setting yourself up for absolute failure. Short of a total brain transplant or brainwashing, It'll never work!

To establish a new habit, pick a habit you have already that you can associate the new one with.

Take brushing your teeth in the morning for example. Add a new habit to it, like wiping out the sink and the counter every time you’re done. It takes only 30 extra seconds and it is done. Within a month of doing that every time you brush your teeth, you'll do it automatically without even noticing you do it! Once you wipe down the counter, start stringing the habit of giving the toilet bowl a swoop with the brush every morning as well!

Post it notes are great for stringing habits. Write a new habit down on a post it note ( pick a color that will catch your attention like purple or hot pink) and put it where you can see it. Then do it when you see it, and soon you can get rid of the post it note.

I have always had a habit of losing my car keys, because I never put them in the same place every time. It drives my husband crazy, because I always take his when I can't find mine in a hurry.

One day I'd put them in my purse, the next day I'd put them in my pants pocket, then the next time in my coat pocket, or the diaper bag. EVERYDAY, I'd spend literally a half hour going backwards in my steps to remember what I did with my keys. What a waste of TIME! No wonder I could never get anywhere on time!

Once I lost my keys and never found them again because we moved. I cut new keys, and now I put them in the same place every time. When out shopping I put them in my purse (carrying a purse was a habit I had to string first though) and now, when I get out of the car at home I keep them in my hands and go open the house before I do anything else. I put the keys right on the key hook in the front hallway before I do anything else! Then I go back and get the kids and groceries out of the car.

Now, everytime I'm going out I know that my keys are on the hook, and my purse is in the closet. It took me a month to string this habit, and sometimes I still forget if I’m in a hurry and find them in my coat pocket or on the counter in the bathroom because I ran in to use the washroom right away from shopping. But as soon as I see they are out of place I put them back right away, so I save time later when I need them.

New habits you can start to string to save time

While cooking supper, fill your sink with warm soapy water every time you cook and add your dishes as you cook. Then they will be easier to clean instead of having spatulas encrusted with egg and mashers stuck with mashed potatoes. It only takes a minute.

Make a new habit of clearing the table as soon as your finished eating dinner. Setting your supper dishes to soak while you take a 10 minute break before washing them up keeps the table clean and your dishes done.

When you tuck your young kids in be every night, lay out their clothes for the morning, to save time and arguments over what to wear.

When you hear the buzzer of the dryer, stop whatever your doing and go get them out right way, to save time ironing out the wrinkles.

As soon as you run out of an item in the kitchen, write it on your grocery list on the fridge so on shopping day you'll remember your out of garbage bags and those items you buy less often, like meat tenderizer.

Got a Habit you have strung, that you think could help other CleanHome Executives? Email us and share it with us.

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