good business habits

Make Your Bed: 40 Days to Create a Good Habit

By Communications

My dog, Clover, in a decidedly unmade bed.

Confession: I was horrible about making my bed. When our kids were young, it seemed like I was in and out of it so many times during the night that really, what was the point of making it all nice and neat before climbing into it again, later?

At some point, I decided to change the way I thought about making the bed, and to create the habit of just doing it. First, I changed the way I thought about it; making the bed isn’t a chore, it’s just part of your day. Instead of straightening sheets, I thought about creating a sanctuary; a pleasant place to return to and relax at the end of the day.

I was raised with the religious tradition of Lent and giving something up for 40 days as a way to refocus, purify yourself and understand the meaning of self-sacrifice. It was a Lenten season when I chose my bed as my focus.

Now, I know from all manner of consultants that it takes a certain number of days to create a habit; I’ve read 27, 28 and 21 . . . but I figured 40 days left me plenty of room for error. So I set out on the journey of tucking, smoothing, fluffing pillows and folding corners that would culminate, not only in the Easter season, but in a new, healthy habit.

Lately I’ve been focusing my habit-creating on writing daily. I remember the experience of creating the bed-making habit as a clear analogy to how challenging habit creation can be. If I think about my commitment to blogging as a chore: “I have to blog every day,” that becomes far less appealing and leads to whining.

If I approach the activity differently and say, “I will create content of value to my audience daily. I will share information that demonstrates my capability and thus helps establish my business every day,” I’m much more eager to commit.

What habits are you trying to create in your business? How can you change the way you think about and talk about them, to manage the approach to take?