One of the most common teachings in relation to habit building is that to establish a successful habit, you need a trigger.
The trigger is the thing that happens before you do the habit. The best triggers are those that occur naturally or consistently.
I wake up about 5:30 every morning. I immediately go get our dog out of her dog crate and take her outside. That is a perfect trigger. It happens every day. I already do it and there is no getting around it. (In case you are asking, no, no one else in the family is up or willing to get up at that time to take out the dog, and yes, I enjoy doing it…you’ll see why).
After going outside, the dog gets one spoonful of “special” food as a reward each morning. Another amazing trigger.
My morning is set in stone. I wake up, take dog out, and get dog food. This happens every single day. 7 days a week.
I used the power of these “triggers” to tie some habits that I wanted to work on.
The first is to write down three things a day I am grateful for. The second is to pray. Both are intended to increase my reverence and connection with God.
Now my morning ritual is: take out dog (trigger) sit at table outside and write down three things I am grateful for while I wait. Get food for dog (trigger) go into quiet room and pray.
Oddly enough, without a huge amount of motivation, I haven’t missed a day or writing or praying in a long time. Why was it so easy to add in these habits?
It’s all about the trigger.
I have tried these things in the past, with varying levels of success. Tried and failed, tried and failed, tried and…I win!
The only difference. Tying the behavior I want to an existing behavior.
For us this week, I’m focusing on reverence.
First off: what is a task you would like to implement to increase your reverence? Talking a walk, praying, meditating, listening to uplifting music, writing…you pick the thing you think will help you feel peace and calm in your life.
Second: what is the trigger? What is something you do every day that can trigger your action? Take a shower, brush your teeth, get a drink of water, get dressed. Whatever it is, start tying your behavior to that trigger.
Then let me know how it goes!
For this to work for me, I do have to get up earlier every morning than I would really want to. I don’t necessarily love getting up at 5:30. But I would not trade the alone and quiet time I get for anything! It is worth every second to have that time. You might have to make a similar sacrifice. After all, if it was easy, you’d already be doing it!