Carts, Horses, and Habits


When we’re focusing on developing habits, it’s sometimes easy to fall into some bad ones. Here are a few things to look for, and why we’re working so hard on this instead of selling books first.


WHY AREN’T WE FOCUSING ON SELLING BOOKS RIGHT NOW?


The biggest part of any marketing program is a promise to your readers: I solemnly promise that if you invest in me this time, I’ll actually write good books consistently so that I don't disappoint you. Again.


We’ve all heard the saying, “Putting the cart in front of the horse.” 


Scenario 1: Let’s play that scenario out a little. Let’s say that we’re trying to hook that horse up to the back of the wagon at the top of a hill. Then, the cart starts rolling down the hill out of control and smashes into a tree at the bottom. Not only do we still have to hook up our horse, but we now have to rebuild our wagon before we can get going.


Scenario 2: Let’s say that we managed to actually hook the horse up to the back of the cart. It starts rolling downhill. It’s not out of control, but our horse gets injured on the way down while trying to stop it. We now have to repair the damage to the cart and to the horse or find a new horse before we can begin.


We will focus on how to sell books.


But first, we need to make sure we’ve got some good building blocks under our belts to build the foundation of our careers. December is a great time for that because the reading class is too busy trying to earn a Christmas bonus.


HOW DO WE WATCH FOR BAD HABITS?


Using your daily planner does more than just keep you accountable. It also gives you something you can visually see. Looking at your productivity, your focus, and your rewards can tell you when good habits turn bad. 


The rewards you choose can turn into a bad habit. I discovered that using an ice cream treat as a reward just adds pounds to the body. I also found that I’d “cheat” the system I’d created in my desire to consume the sugar. I’d eat the ice cream first because we were running errands and I’d tell myself I’d “earn it” later. I rarely did that because the triggers in my brain said that I’d satisfied the need to earn the ice cream because I’d already eaten it. Charles Duhigg talks about habits and triggers more in-depth in his book The Power of Habit. 


Watch your productivity cycle because we develop bad habits there, too. We underproduce and then we overproduce to make up for it. But that overproduction throws you into a tailspin of non-production for hours, days, or weeks at a time.


Procrastination is probably one of the biggest bad habits to look for. You’ll find in your documentation that you were productive, but on things you really didn’t need to do because you were procrastinating on this one project. That adds stress to your day, your psyche, and those around you.


WHAT DO I DO WHEN I DISCOVER I’VE CREATED YET ANOTHER BAD HABIT?


The first thing you do is tell yourself that it’s going to be okay because at least you discovered it. Stop the negative talk in its tracks. 


Then, create a plan on how to tackle it. If you’ve discovered that you’re cheating your reward system or that your reward isn’t good for you, then choose a different reward, or alter your reward system. Ask yourself "why" that habit was developed again and again until you come up with the real problem you need to solve.


Whatever you choose to do, do it every day. Whatever your new plan of attack is, stick to it. This will become a habit as well. You have to keep in mind that we’re still figuring out how we work, how we operate. Chances are, you’re going to be doing this again and again over time as you change and adapt to life. This approach will become a life cycle habit that will keep you healthy as your career grows.


Focus on building one new habit at a time. This way, you don’t get overwhelmed with it all.


TIME FOR A LITTLE DISCUSSION BEFORE WE HEAD INTO THE END OF THE WEEK.


  1. How are you doing with your goals and habit formations so far?

  2. Do you feel like you’re getting your feet under you yet?

  3. Where do you feel you still need to improve?


Resources:

The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg

©2020 by Real Indie Author