Twyla Tharp writes about how each and every morning she gets up, hails a cab and goes to the gym to train for several hours to keep herself in shape.
She writes in her book, The Creative Habit, “The ritual is not the stretching and weight training I put my body through each morning at the gym; the ritual is the cab. The moment I tell the driver where to go I have completed the ritual. It’s a simple act, but doing it the same way each morning habituates it—makes it repeatable, easy to do. It reduces the chance that I would skip it or do it differently. It is one more item in my arsenal of routines, and one less thing to think about.”
This is known as “greasing the skids” or making it as easy as possible for the new habits you are making to stick.
You’ve all been trained (or will be trained) by BHFM to make it as easy as possible for your prospects to say, “yes, I want to engage your services”. We do this by removing as many barriers that stand between you and the prospect. We literally want to “lead the horse to water”. Of course, as we all know, we can’t make the horse drink, but we can at least get them to the water.
Just as Tharp greases the skids to keep her gym-going habit alive, you are going to grease your skids as well.
When writer James Clear talks about the idea of “atomic habits”—small acts that make an enormous difference in your life—he stresses this same tactic utilized so effectively by Tharp. It started with an idea he learned about habit formation from Leo Babatua. Make it so easy, “so ridiculous most people laugh,” Leo says. Make it so easy, “you won’t say no. You’ll feel crazy if you don’t do it. And so you’ll actually do it!”
So how do we make things so easy that anyone can do it… Heck, that even you can do it?
Well, if you want to start working out, you don’t have to go and join and gym and do something crazy like Twyla Tharp and exercise for several hours. Let’s start out by doing five pushups today. Can’t do five all at once? Do them one at a time throughout the day. Can’t do regular pushups? Then start out doing pushups from your knees.
You want to eat better? Commit to eating one meal per week that is healthy and build from there. You want to write a book? Just write one sentence this week, then add another two sentences next week. If, in between those sentences, you feel your muse kick in and creativity abounds, then write some more, until the creativity leaves. Don’t worry, it will come back.
Before you know it, you’ll be writing whole paragraphs in one sitting and eating multiple healthy meals each week. Guess what else? Those pushups you could barely do will turn into 10 then 20, 30 and maybe even 50 in a row before you know it.
But it will take time.
It will require you to sit down each night, in your nightly prep, and write out the things you want to do tomorrow. Remember, these are not big things, they are small, simple things, like doing five pushups (or however many you can do in the beginning).
Maybe you’re still struggling with getting out of bed 30 minutes early? Ok, let’s fix that. Tonight, move your alarm clock across the room so you have to get up to turn it off. Yes, I know that seems so simple, especially if you’re not having trouble getting up. But that’s just an example of a little thing you can do to simplify your life and focus only on that which is important.
Every great journey begins with a single step. What single step are you going to take tomorrow? Write it down, make sure it’s simple, and then do it. Don’t make it too big or cumbersome. You don’t want to become your own biggest obstacle.
NEW HABIT: Add a simple task to perform tomorrow to your nightly prep - and then do it.
NEW TASK: Start the habit of adding a simple task to perform tomorrow to your nightly prep, and then do it (do you see a pattern developing here?)