"Contrast" is the Key to Maintaining New Habits For Good.

Recently, I wrote an article about becoming an ideal version of yourself.  I've heard the mantra of becoming the best version of yourself all over social media but no one really discussed the practical steps of how to create that evolution. I wanted to actively work towards becoming my best self so I came up with a simple exercise of asking myself what I can do this very week to model the version of myself that I want to embody.

A couple of weeks ago, I decided it would be ideal if I got dressed for my workday.   I know this sounds like the bare minimum, as someone who's worked for themselves for nearly a decade, I've developed some really tragic habits when it comes to personal disciplines.  I'm not joking when I say that, there were times when I spent the entire work day in my house robe or in shorts and a T-shirt. 

 It was bad. 

But since deciding to take on the "ideal version of self" experiment, I've committed to looking at least somewhat presentable for work even if there are no Zoom meetings or interactions with the outside public.  I did this for a couple of weeks.  Week one, I wore what one would consider "casual Friday" outfits consisting mainly of jeans paired with a casual top.  I felt the positive benefits of making that one small shift so the following week I decided to step things up by going full-on business casual.  At first, I felt kinda ridiculous wearing slacks and a blouse to just sit at my laptop all day but let me tell you....

Getting into work mode was so much easier when I was already dressed for the occasion.  My days became infinitely more productive leading me to breeze through my to-do list.  Even when I didn't accomplish everything I wanted, I was still committed to accomplishing what I deemed the most important. 

By dressing for work every day, I became a more ideal version of my (work) self. 

But then the following week rolled around and I had back slidden to working in casual Friday attire.  One day, in particular, I worked in gym attire.  Did my world come crumbling down as a result? No. But I didn't seem to accomplish as much as the business casual-boss babe version of myself did.  The perception of my productivity wasn't just all in my head.  The week where I dressed for work led to a boost in sales and other tangible results.  The improved version of myself created an ideal version of my business in just one short week.   Once I went back to dressing down, things reverted back to the status quo....and I didn't like it.

Obviously, this week I'm returning to putting effort into my attire for work.  But the lesson I wanted to leave you all with is to try this "ideal self" experiment for a week or two, then go back to your former self and notice the difference. 

If an ideal version of you would work out regularly, do it for a week -no strings attached- and see what that habit brings you. Notice your energy levels, your mood, and feelings of well-being.   There's no commitment to trying to build a habit for 60 days or whatever those books tell us is required to make a new behavior stick.  Instead, just make a choice to "try this new behavior on" like a fancy coat and see how it makes you feel.  See if it feels nice when you're wearing it.  Then decide if you'd like to keep the coat (or at the very least borrow it from time to time).  

When I did the "becoming prettier" experiment, I noticed all the benefits and changes that seemed to come my way thanks to the effort I was putting in.  But one thing I overlooked was what happened when I put little/no effort in the way I looked on a daily basis.  Basically, I didn't acknowledge what I took away once I reverted back to my old way of life.   In this most recent experiment, I immediately noticed the difference in results and I was ready to reinstitute the habit of getting dressed to work ASAP!

Needless to say that I will be continuing with this ideal self experiment going forward.  Every week I'll ask myself the same question of what I can do this week that will bring me one step closer to my ideal--and every week, I apply the response and see what that brings me.  Then I may purposely go back to my old way of being just so I can create and observe the contrast.  

I believe "the contrast" is the answer to how to make a new behavior stick. It's because of the contrast that I'm choosing to go back to dressing up for work.  I much prefer the version of me who dresses up for work because of the results that version of me can produce.  Instead of forcing myself to keep up a behavior until it becomes a habit, I'm now motivated to continue the practice because of the benefits that come with it. 

Post a Comment

. BELLEMOCHA.com Theme by STS.