― John C. Norcross, Changeology
Unless you are some sort of superhero, you will not be able to get into your new habit perfectly the first time. You’ll trip and fall and royally screw up. Research indicates that 88 percent of people have failed to keep a new habit. In my experience as a human being and a coach, 100 percent of people starting a new habit lapse in their attempt. Faltering is a normal part of the process, but it’s important that we distinguish between a lapse and a relapse.
If you imagine yourself climbing a hill, a lapse is a little trip, or maybe a trip and a fall. It might hurt, and you might want to stop climbing. A lapse becomes a relapse when we actually do stop climbing. A lapse might be a bad day; a relapse is a week so bad that you give up altogether. It is critical that we distinguish between our lapses and a full-blown relapse, and that we respond appropriately to each lapse. To restate this: It doesn’t matter if you have a lapse, or even a relapse, but how you respond does matter.
What To Do Today
Task #1: If you’ve slipped, ask yourself why. (My prediction? You expanded too fast from your Better Than Nothing practice. Remember: The BTN is the fallback routine. Something is ALWAYS BETTER than nothing in this habit formation game.) The page in your workbook called “Expect at Least Minor (Sometimes Major) Failure” will help you learn from your mistakes.
Task #2: Practice gratitude, even if you only have the time or energy for your BTN routine.