I’m vegan. I don’t eat any animal products—no butter, no eggs, and sadly, no cheese.
Would you believe me if I told you that just a little over a year ago cheese was one of my major food groups? No joke. I used to buy sliced American cheese from the deli and eat slices of it for a snack. Cheese and crackers with a glass of wine was my favorite Friday night treat.
When I got my wisdom teeth removed, I took painkillers for the first time. I stayed with my mom during my recovery and sat in front of the television like a zombie. The only thing I really remember about this time is that I ate an entire pound of sliced cheese in one day. I won’t tell you how that turned out, because it’s not pretty.
I was dependent on cheese—and even thinking about giving up cheese made me extremely nervous. What would I do without my pizza, cheese and crackers, grilled cheese, Greek salads with feta cheese?
After a lot of thinking about veganism, food choices, and where our food comes from, I knew that veganism was the lifestyle that I needed to live. Don’t worry. I’m not going to try to convert you, and I’m not going to take away your cheese.
I’m sharing this with you, because I want you to know that I fully understand how hard it is to change a habit or to form new habits.
If you want to be successful at changing a habit, you better have a damn good reason.
I would not have been able to give up cheese if I didn’t do a lot of research and learn a lot about how cheese is made, how cows are treated, and how factory farming affects the environment. If I didn’t have a damn good reason for changing my diet, I would not have been able to keep it up for this long.
Enough about my cheese addiction. Let’s talk creative biz habits.
Let’s say that you want to work on your creative business for one hour each evening after dinner. You’ve got big goals for turning your fledgling creative business into a successful, full-time venture. In order to do this, you have to give up an hour of television. This means saying goodbye to The Real Housewives of New Jersey and Seinfeld reruns.
At first glance, this might seem easy. But, we all know that habits are hard to change. You might make it through the first week, but when the second week rolls around and you catch a sneak peek of the next episode of The Real Housewives of New Jersey where Teresa upturns a table and freaks out on her sister-in-law for stealing her hair stylist, you might find yourself back in front of the TV “just this once.”
Remember the reason. Repeat it over and over. Mount it on your wall. Stick it on your fridge.
One thing that can help you stick with your new routine is to remember the reason that you’re doing it. “The why” is so important when you’re trying to change a habit. When you aren’t feeling motivated, think about the reason that you’re building or changing this habit.
Think about the last time you changed a habit. Did you have a good reason? Did that help you push through the times when you just wanted to give up?