How to Build Lasting Habits ~ Your Sparkle Steps Starter Kit

Chapter, Fashionably Light

Jan 28 2013

Gold Tape

how to build habits ~ one sparkly step at a time

^ Shine like this star, one bulb at a time.

Each month, I choose one little goal, and stick to it every day. This has been the most successful habit-forming method I’ve ever used. I’d like to share it with you.

What’s the secret ~ why does it work?

The trick is to choose goals – or “steps” – that are tiny, specific, and achievable, but contribute to big results.

How do i determine the area of my next goal?

We each have sooo many things we want to improve – I know I do! It becomes overwhelming. I suggest writing them all down. when I jot ideas down on paper the list never looks as long as I think it will. Once you’ve done this, decide which one is holding you back or bothering you the most.

how to build habits ~ one sparkly step at a time ~ list

^ my brainstorm for this month

I chose “exercise more” as my goal area. But this is way too vague!

How do i turn a huge goal into a tiny step?

As Gretchen Rubin suggests: Identify the problem. What prevents you from achieving your goal? What is the one tweak that make a big difference every single day? I say every day because I find it easier to do something small every day rather than something bigger less frequently. Here are my brainstorms from the past couple of months:

I was spending too much time on the computer.

the problem: The later I stayed up staring at the screen, the harder it became to stop.

the step towards solution: Turn off my computer every night at 11pm.

In the morning I felt too overwhelmed to start work effectively.

the problem: I kept getting distracted by figuring out what to do when, on top of  planning lunches and evenings.

the step towards solution: I decided to plan tomorrow the night before.

I don’t get enough exercise.

the problem: I mean to exercise daily but don’t schedule it. When I face the decision of whether to exercise or not, I make excuses: I’m too tired, or too cold, or have too much stuff to gather.

the solution: Prepare for exercise the night before.

My plan of attack is to be as prepared as possible for the next day’s exercise. Set a time and lay out clothes and gear for climbing, or simply decide that tomorrow will be a ten minute yoga sesh in my pajamas. But there must be a plan, or every day would turn into a ten minute yoga sesh (if that).

how to build habits ~ one sparkly step at a time

^ take tiny steps like this little birdy did outside my window

How do i hold myself accountable for ALL these goals?

Find a system that works for you. Post-its, paper, or ipod … find your medium.

how to build habits ~ one sparkly step at a time

^ I use the “Reminders” app on Toadette (my ipod touch), which alerts me daily at certain points of the day.

Remember: It’s a work in progress.

I make adjustments to this project each month. For example, I’m changing the name from “the sparklify steps” to “the sparkle steps” because (a) “sparklify” is challenging to pronounce and also because of (b) this metaphor:

Most sparkly things are made up of tiny individual sparkles. The complete product combines them, but when it comes down to it, it’s the little things, all added up, that shine. Each tiny step you make is one more sequin in the fabric of your world.

how to build habits ~ one sparkly step at a time ~ alexandra king clutch

^ each tiny piece makes my alexandra king clutch sparkle

What are your goals? Want help pinning down your next step? I would love to help and to hear your thoughts.

xandra ★

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