Showing posts with label purpose. Show all posts
Showing posts with label purpose. Show all posts

Wednesday, March 11, 2020



How to Build a New Habit ... and Make It Stick... for Good! 

By: Kel Amstutz
Wednesday, March 11, 2020

I have tried... time and time again... building a lot of new and different habits over the years.  Good habits, obviously.  Habits that I had hoped would help me strengthen my business, improve my health, and enjoy a more rewarding day-to-day experience.

A few of those daily habits I have worked on to develop and expand include:

  • Stretching
  • Creative writing
  • Taking walks after dinner
  • Writing poetry
  • Keeping up with the house work
  • Blogging
  • Networking
  • Journaling
  • Crafting
I could probably double that list if I have it some more thought.

Some of these habits have stuck.  And, let's be honest... some haven't.

One of the most obvious reasons they haven't all stuck is that there are too many of them.  I have about five hours of daily habits listed there. Add in a four- to six- hour work day and then time to eat, and... well.. you can see that things start to get pretty crowded.

But it's interesting to see which habits have stuck and how long they have stuck around for.

For example. I've kept a daily journal for a full month - multiple times - and I enjoy doing it when I am in the zone... but not enough to stick with it indefinitely. Journaling, for me, is a short-term experiment that I engage in periodically, usually when life has got me down, more so than taking it on as a full-fledged habit.

I also spend a half-an-hour stretching each and every morning... and I have been doing that every day for about two years now. (We won't say it's because I am getting old and my bones need adjusting in the morning! LOL)

Writing poetry has always been a passion of mine and when I think about writing a poem a day... well, it sounds great, but have I ever been able to do this... sadly, no. 

However, I do try to creatively write every day for at least 45 minutes to an hour. I'm not quite as reliable with this as I am with stretching... but I do okay.

So, what makes a habit stick?

Having tried on a variety of habits for size with different degrees of success, I have a pretty good idea or assumption of why some habits take... and others just don't.


If you want to turn something into a long-term habit, you need to have a compelling purpose behind WHY you're doing it. And because someone recommended it in their blog... well, it just doesn't cut it.

It does help to have a handle on what compels your purpose before you actually decide to implement a habit, but it isn't a requirement.  Sometimes the compelling purpose becomes clear after you have done something for a while.

That is how stretching has been for me. I didn't set out to make a habit out of stretching daily. Instead I fell and the result of being hurt, the stretching was ordered by the doctor to ease the aches and pains, and turned into a daily habit to keep those aches and pains at bay. Beyond that, my morning stretches started to help me feel more alert... helped me feel like I was starting my day off with a little more pep in my step... and I just really liked it.

And then, the kicker.  For a week, I decided I could use that block of time for getting things done around the house before getting kids up for school and running out the door to work. So I started to skip my morning stretches.  In no time at all, I was tired, cranky and not to mention so sore I could barely move.  I immediately went back to my morning stretches and once again found myself in a better mood... and with a happier body. 

That was my compelling purpose.  Stretching is a habit that has stuck, because I feel better and work better when I do it.

Journaling, on the other hand, is something that I just simply enjoy.  But, unlike many people who find journaling to be life-changing in a positive way... I really can't say that I notice that much of a difference when I journal versus when I don't.  My purpose behind journaling (when I sit down and do it) is usually that I read something recently about how amazing it is for creativity and mental health.  So I do it for a bit, and it's all fine... but there's not enough impact in it for me to form a compelling purpose.

So, when you start out to build a new habit, think about your purpose behind why you are doing it.

Ask yourself:
  •  What benefit do you hope to gain? 
Then pay attention to whether or not it's fulfilling that intended purpose and delivering the desired benefit.

If it is and you recognize that it is, keeping it as a habit will become easy.  If it's not - and you have honestly given it time to deliver - then consider dropping it to make room for a different habit that may have a better result.


A clear purpose and an obvious benefit will go a long way towards helping you stick to your new habit.

But what really cements it is the cost of not doing it.

A habit that is going to stick has a definite, noticeable impact when you don't do it.

For me, creative writing is like that.  If I don't make time to write creatively almost daily, my self-esteem takes a direct hit - I like myself better when I am diving into my writing as opposed to when I am not writing.  My creativity slips.  And I feel out of sorts. I don't get depressed... or sad.  I just feel like something if off.

But, when I'm writing every day - or even every other day - my work goes so much better, I get into the flow of my projects easier, I come up with ideas faster, I feel more energetic, and comfortable in my own skin. 

The cost of not writing is high. And it doesn't take long for me to notice when I am neglecting that habit.

On the other hand, another creative outlet - crafting, or mostly painting - just doesn't have quite the same effect on me.  I enjoy crafting, and I never regret having made time to do it. But, if I don't make the time for it... well, I don't feel any kind of negative impact.  So it doesn't stick as a habit in the same way daily writing does for me. 


So far, we have been talking about what makes a habit.... STICK.

But even if everything is in place for a new behavior to become a habit, you still need to get it to the point of being an actual habit.

I've found a few things that make the biggest difference when it comes to giving a new habit the best chance of sticking.  The first is to be realistic about the time commitment.

Maybe the new habit you're looking at forming will only take 10 minutes out of your morning.  That doesn't sound like a big deal. But if your mornings are already rushed, how likely are you to find that extra ten minutes?

This could mean that you will have to wake up even earlier... or cut out some of your other morning activities... or delegate something to someone else.  Is that something you'll be able to do and stick with?

If you can't clearly see how to make time for a new habit, chances are you won't stay with it long enough to realize the obvious benefit and feel the cost of not doing it.


Besides having enough time to dedicate to your new habit, the next obstacle is remembering to do what you want to do when you want to do it.

How many times have you decided to make something a habit, only to get to the end of the day and realize as you're falling asleep that... well... you forgot all about it, let alone doing it?

Setting a reminder on your Smartphone is one way around this, and it works really well for some people. For me... well, let's just say that I am really good at ignoring reminders on my phone!

What has worked well for me is connecting my desired new habit with an event to help me remember.  So, for stretching, my connection is breakfast. Right after breakfast, I transition into my morning stretches.  For creative writing, my connection is the end of my work day. After I complete all my work for the day, I sit down with my computer, or tablet, or sometimes even my notebook and I write.  For going for a walk, I connect this with when dinner is over.

Once you set these internal reminders up, you will have to be deliberate about it the first few times. But after a week or two, your brain will start to automatically transition into your new habit before you even realize what you're doing.

I have found that these habits are now ingrained in my subconscious.

Developing positive habits can have a huge impact on your business, your health, and your overall outlook on life.  When you choose the right habits - the ones that have a clear purpose and an obvious benefit - and then make the time to do them and tie them to a trigger, you will set yourself up for success.

What about you?

What strategies do you use to develop positive habits and make them stick?

I would love to hear more about it in the comments below!

Thursday, July 13, 2017


By: Kel Amstutz
Keywords: Personal Growth, Your Life's Journey, Finding You, Growing, Development, Dreams, Purpose, Lost Gypsy Soul

Personal growth is a hard topic for me, personally.  It always seems as if I take two huge steps towards growth...only to take five steps back into what I actually want and how my path will look.  Of course, this is my struggle.  

Image result for personal growthBut, you know that you are here for BIG THINGS, right?  I mean we all have a difference to make and a PURPOSE TO LIVE.  If YOU are already doing this...right now, awesome! Keep on doing your thing.  

If you are like me, and are not, maybe your unsure how to get started or maybe it's possible that you have missed the important journey that you need to take to get to where you want to be...

Whatever you want to call it- Personal Growth, Personal Development, Self-Actualization, Finding yourself ... this journey is about YOU exploring and developing WHO you truly are.  It explores:

  • Identity
  • Talents
  • Potential
  • Dreams
  • Aspirations

This helps you develop who you are physically, mentally, spiritually, and intellectually. 

Image result for personal growth

And, it can look HOWEVER you want it to look- that is the whole PERSONAL part! Your journey might involve training, up-skilling, traveling; or maybe yoga, meditation, and spiritual healing. 

But, the KEY to this whole process is to PUT YOURSELF into situations that will trigger that exploration and development. 


1. Know Yourself.
Image result for personal growthHaving self knowledge is NOT just knowing your likes and dislikes.  It is about knowing who you truly are as a person.  Think about how you look at life.  How you interact with others. What ignites that fire within you?  What scares you?  What truly gets your heart pumping?  A person who sincerely knows who they are shines with confidence. 

This kind of knowledge is learned by person reflection, a lot of alone time, and situations that push outside of your comfort zone.  Those situations can be very different for everyone- maybe having lunch at a restaurant alone with only a pen and paper, no bodies or phones, or maybe taking a trip alone.  You can learn a lot about yourself when you jump into unfamiliar environments, breaking from the comfort bubble that we all tend to create and surround ourselves within.  And, when we break past the things we thought we were only capable of, we then start to feel like we can achieve greater things, boosting our confidence.

2. Surround Yourself with Beautiful People.
Image result for inner beauty
You all know that I am referring to INNER BEAUTY.  People that make you see the world in a new way.  People that do extraordinary things.  People that exude the qualities that you love and would like to have rub off on you; think about kindness, compassion, bravery, drive. People that have a story to tell, gifts to share and lessons to teach the world. #inspiration

3. Rid Yourself of Negative People
Image result for no negative peopleOK. This one is tough. Think about a person who just brings you down.  It could be a person you know, a person your only acquainted with, or it could even be a close family member. Only you can decide whether or not you should do this (or want to), and how best to do it. Every situation is different.  Sometimes it calls for addressing situations in person, face-to-face and other times it calls for breaking contact, and sometimes it calls for leaving one day and never looking back.  This is easier said than done, so I won't make light of the situation. The one instance where I would urge you to immediately remove yourself is if you are physically or emotionally at risk.  Often, these types of situations will require help from someone outside of your circle- ask for that help. 

4. Practice "Three Good Things" rule 
Image result for 3 good things

I want you to write down three good things that happen throughout your day, each day, or three things that you are thankful for.  It can really be as simple as "I'm thankful for the sun today." 

5. Avoid Comparing Yourself to what you see on Social Media
Image result for social media breakOh Social Media...Here is the thing: it's a clipped, cropped, cultivated representation of WHO WE ARE.  It is NOT really who we are.  We accentuate the BEST of ourselves.  We filter and tweet what we want others to see- and to be perfectly honest, that's OK.  It is no different then quickly cleaning up the house when we know someone will be stopping by; we like to present ourselves to others in the best light.  The key to social media is to be MINDFUL that this is what everyone is doing--and yes I mean EVERYONE! 

So, when spending that hour at a time scrolling through news feeds, know and understand that those updates, photos and comments have been carefully considered.  And when we compare ourselves to others, we have a tendency to compare the WORST of ourselves to the best of everyone else.  To be truthful, we have no business even comparing ourselves in the first place; it's just not a fair comparison.  The funny thing is, people are probably comparing themselves to YOU.  It's not a healthy pastime.  I suggest that if you notice yourself making unhealthy comparisons, unsubscribe from that person, for a little while.  You can still be friends, but you will stop seeing their updates.  The 'three good things' exercise and knowing yourself will help you boost confidence if you find yourself in this spot.

6. Write.
Image result for writeIf you have followed some of my other blogs then you know how important this is.  Write. Whether in a blog or even a journal, writing is a therapeutic outlet for your thoughts. However you wish to do this; Julia Cameron's morning pages are recommended by me, or a diary, or be it random typed up notes on your phone, your way is your own but it can help free your mind to get things out of that space. 

7. Get out there and Meet New People
Image result for meet new peopleIf you are shy or introverted, like me, this will serve as part of the getting outside of your comfort zone exercise.  Spend time with NEW people who can help broaden your horizons and open up new adventures and/or opportunities in your life.  If you are unsure how to do this, start with friends of your friends.  Get invited to parties or make it your mission to talk to someone when you are at a school function for the kids, or getting your morning coffee from the local coffee shop.  Strike up a conversation at the gym.  Introduce yourself to the person you always see at the beach or park.  The possibilities are endless. 

I am sure that if you are like me, the thought of doing this is giving you heart palpitations right now.  This is a good thing.  This means that it is time to seize the day.  The easiest way to begin is simple, offer a compliment and ask an open ended question, kind of like this, 'So, how do you know...'  I have found that this is a great ice breaker, especially for the socially awkward, like myself! ;)

8. Clear the Clutter
Related imageWe all get emotionally attached to stuff in our lives.  But, when we purge some of that stuff, ridding ourselves of all the clutter, you know that have had it for almost a lifetime and yet it sits in the same spot collecting can and usually will feel empowered. This process is freeing!  Cut back and do so by donating items, help out friends and family, or even have a garage sale. The other side of this is to start being mindful of future items that you bring into your life.  I always like to ask if I want it or need it, because, honey, there is a difference. 

9.  Turn OFF the T.V.
Image result for turn the TV offThis point I am about to make almost blew my own mind.  It is so true.  Emotions in others stirs emotions in you.  OK, so I am watching this movie, it's a popular movie, in which a puppy is murdered, seriously, it was tragic and traumatic in the same breathe. Sure, it was not reality, but it stirred something in me that brought me DOWN.  I was so caught up in the story-line and the emotional reaction that it brought within me.  Sure, they say that a good movie will leave you full of whatever emotion they were trying to portray- so it's a job well done, but seriously...

So, if you give up your free time to watch the screen and what plays out, be prepared for the reactions you might face.  I suggest spending time learning something new instead! 

10. Get in touch with Nature.
Image result for fresh airTake time out of each day to breathe in some fresh air.  Take a walk, visit a local beach, or just sit outside watching the clouds.  I call these moments mini escapes, because I feel that this puts me in the real world away from the computers and TVs, or even cells phones!   I love to watch the stars, swim, walk through the park near our home and something about roasted marshmallows in the summer over a bonfire, just puts me in the right mindset.  The world we live in is beautiful and it is so important that we all take time and enjoy it and let it re-energize us in the hectic world that encloses most of us day in and day out. 

11. Read. 
Related imageHonestly, next to writing, this one takes the cake in my world.  Reading connects us with people that may have lived long ago, before we were even born.  It gives us an insight into another world, another perspective.  It grows us in the easiest way possible, all from the comforts of our favorite chair.  I understand if you are not a big reader, but the best way to start is to either pick a topic or find a book list of more popular books and dive right in. Nothing lets you live a life that is not your own like a book! 

12. Develop a childlike sense of humor.
Image result for childrens laughterI have two young kiddos and I love how easy it is to make them laugh.  Their humor is sweet and simple- pure joy escapes their happy little faces from a silly joke or even a funny face. I love embracing their lighthearted sense of humors; and reminding my own self of this happy, go lucky attitude.  I try to get to that crying-laughing stage at least once a week.  This is so healthy for us all to embrace and remind ourselves of this uncultivated joy. Life is to short to always be so serious! 

13. Get a Hobby.
Image result for hobbyHobbies serve a multitude of purposes.  First, you learn a new skill and it is usually a creative or physical outlet.  Guess what else, this can introduce you to new people and it gets you out of your comfort zone.  Hobbies are typically an achievement of something that you have always wanted to do or try and it gives you something interesting to talk about when you meet new people. Being passionate about something different is cool.  Passionate people are interesting, and it doesn't even matter what that passion is.  It's energizing to talk to someone who has a real excited love for something.  

14. Make Someone's Day.
Image result for make someone's dayWhether it's a stranger, a friend, your parent or spouse- do something right now to brighten someone's day.  It can be as simple as a genuine compliment- an unexpected and thoughtful gift or what have you.  Seeing the effect that your kindness has on others will leave a lasting impact on your personal growth!

Start now.

If you are ready to begin or develop your personal growth journey- try one of these ideas list above! 

If you have already started your journey and would like to share what triggered your own personal growth, please do so below - your story could inspire others to begin their own journey! 

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