Wash, Rinse, Repeat…for Ninety Days.

3049152556_1a337b4677_zI don’t know if you may have actually read the instructions that line 99.9 percent of all the shampoo bottles out there…but if we actually followed them to the letter, we would never get out of the shower. Yet as we begin another new year with hopes of adopting new habits and shaking off old ones, there is some infinite wisdom in those three little words.

Perhaps the secret is in the one piece of advice very few of us likely follow: repeat. Most of the time when I wash my hair I do just one cycle. I don’t see the point in repeating it. Yet consider how often we receive directions on how to effectively live our lives and/or grow our businesses, and don’t follow through or keep up the good behavior?

And at this time of new resolutions, it’s something worth considering.

We are told that it takes anywhere between 21 and 30 days for a habit to form—or to be broken. It seems that when it comes to our behaviors, we humans have short memories. There are basics that bear repeating. In previous articles I’ve discussed how it is important to not allow ourselves to become overwhelmed with life and work. It helps to keep things simple, such as taking two or three “nuggets”—a strategy, tactic, or simple behavior that feels right (note: it may not always feel good)—and focus on those.

Whether you set a New Year resolution or goal (whatever you call it), what is keeping you from taking out an index card and writing down just three DAILY practices that would help you achieve it? Keep the card with you at all times. Review it several times throughout the day. Focus on the three.

Important: Forget the year.  That’s too overwhelming. Aim for 90 days. That’s your goal.

Why keep an index card with you (When it wears out, replace it.)? In his classic book Think and Grow Rich (the original edition is in the public domain and can be accessed at no charge from countless resources), author Napoleon Hill describes the process of “auto suggestion.” He describes the vital importance of daily repetition—replacing negative or counter-productive thought patterns with those that are much more positive and more productive. But it must be done several times per day. There is no way around it.

Most New Year’s resolutions are abandoned by the end of March. If you can make it past that window, you are likely in the top one percent of those who reach their new year goals.

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