Contributed by Karen Cioffi
Habits are pretty much who you are.
Are you a positive thinker? Are you ambitious? Do you work hard? Are you a compulsive cleaner? Do you procrastinate? Do you fear jumping in?
Some of the items above are traits, but they are also habits created – they reflect your actions and reactions. They are part of the things you do each and every day, consciously or subconsciously.
Have a habit you don’t like? Or, one that is getting in the way of your writing success?
Well, you’re in luck.
According to WebMD, you can break bad habits in three easy steps.
1. Analyze the habit you’d like (need) to break.
Maybe, you spend too much time on social media, even if it’s to work it. If you’re not getting the ROI on your efforts, you need to change things.
Maybe, you don’t get enough writing in.
That story that’s been on the back burner is still there. You keep saying you’re going to get to it, but you keep procrastinating.
Or, maybe you need to write two articles a week for your blog, but barely manage to write one. Not for a real lack of time, more because you’re not prioritizing your work.
Maybe, you’re not using video as much as you should in your content marketing, simply because it’s easier not to.
Figure out what it is – put it in front of you. This strategy may help you change things for the better.
2. Write it down.
Actually writing things down adds another element or layer to the consciousness of the habit.
Psychologist James Claiborn, PhD, and the co-author of The Habit Change Workbook, explains, “Write out a list of the pros and cons of this behavior and keep a record of when you do it. Measurement of anything tends to change it and makes people much more aware in the first place." (1)
This is similar to number 1, in that it allows you to analyze the habit.
3. Put a temp in.
Once you realize the’ whens and whys’ of a habit you want to break, try substituting another action in its place.
Suppose you drink two cans of soda day. Substitute one of the cans for a cup of water or naturally flavored seltzer. Once that’s working well, substitute the other can of soda with something healthier.
Or, suppose you spend 2 hours a day on social media. Time yourself. Stop at one hour. Then jump into writing something, whether it's your story or a blog post.
4. Realize it may take a bit of time to break a habit.
This one isn’t from WebMD, but it’s powerful.
According to Mark Twain, "A habit cannot be tossed out the window; it must be coaxed down the stairs a step at a time."
I love this quote. In one sentence, it lets you know that habits can be broken, but it won’t be overnight. You need to persevere.
All of us have some habits we know we should overcome. Try these three tips and see if you can’t break at least one of your bad habits.
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Karen Cioffi is an award-winning children’s author. She runs a successful children’s ghostwriting and rewriting business and welcomes working with new clients.
For tips on writing for children OR if you need help with your project, contact her at Writing for Children with Karen Cioffi.
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