My name is Brian Conroy. I want to start a community that
can help change people’s lives for the better. But I’m not sure where to start.
So I’ve started here.
This is day one. This is ground zero. This is, in the words
of one wise man, “the first day of the
rest of my life”. As an aside, the origin of that quote is widely disputed,
but I credit it to Xzibit.
I’ve started my new website www.newhabitclub.com to help people who are looking to start a new habit, or ditch an old one. In fact, truth be told, I’ve actually started it to help myself first. The logic is simple. Maintaining a new habit is easier if you have what is variously called “an accountability partner” or “an accountability coach”. In AA (I’m told) that would be your sponsor. This website will make everyone who joins the community my accountability partners. But, it can also give you a way to find a partner (me, for a start) to help you build better habits and achieve your goals. In simple terms, if I want to start running (which I do), but I have to rely on my own will power and discipline alone, it’s hard. If I have a running buddy who is relying on me, and who expects me to be at a certain place and a certain time to go run with them, then I am more likely to turn up and do the runs. Right now, I want a run buddy, but I can’t find one among my current group of friends or colleagues, because none of them are (1) as unfit as me and/or (2) free to run at the same time and in the same place as me. I’ve had this problem before, but a group of friends got together, and ‘virtually’ ran together. So, in that case, I would do my run, and take a screenshot of the results from mapmyrun.com on my phone, and share it with the group on Whatsapp. They did likewise. Knowing that people were expecting my screenshot, and that I was going to be getting theirs helped me. It created a sense of community and togetherness, even though we seldom ran together. It resulted in my going from zero running to a half marathon in 4 months. Not bad.
So I thought, why wouldn’t that work with complete strangers. Why couldn’t I start a brand new community. A group of people who had the same goal, with the same level of fitness, but from all around the world? Why couldn’t someone in a completely different country help inspire me to go out for me run, and vice versa, if we both have the same ‘plan’ or ‘goal’. I want to run a marathon in 2020. I’m starting from zero, and being relatively unfit? You can see my training plan HERE. Anybody else fit that description and want to me in my running club? Maybe you’re hoping to run a marathon somewhere else in the world in 2020 and are also starting with 1 mile runs, or even walking, and just need some gentle (or perhaps not so gentle) encouragement. If so, join the club, the more the merrier.
And if that works, I’m also looking for someone to play
tennis and squash with in my gym. They have squash clubs and tennis clubs, but
I find it a bit intimidating, and I’d rather try and find someone who had the
same goals as me, playing once a week, and against someone who sometimes beat
me and whom I sometimes beat.
And if that works, well who knows. What if you had a sponsor for every habit you were trying to start or stop. What if you had a person who you could message on slack/facebook if you were about to eat the bar of chocolate, and who would offer some help or support? No, they aren’t professionals, and they might not have the first clue about psychology, but they are a person who has joined a community (the New Habit Club one) to help people just like them, and to help raise each other up and help them achieve their goals, hopes, dreams.
So, that’s what I want to do.
At the same time, as I said earlier I’m on my own ‘habit journey’. I’ve tried many (many many) (many) times to start and maintain new habits. Like most, I’ve made New Years’ Resolutions, some of which haven’t made it through 1 January. I’ve joined a gym (actually, I’ve joined three at last count) and hardly ever gone. I’ve started running, and stopped. I’ve given up drink, and drank. I’ve started waking up early, then stopped. Typically, I will read a book (Atomic Habits by James Clear being the inspiration for this website and journey), get all inspired and start. And then something goes wrong. So now, I’ve started again, and I’m going to chart my progress here. If you join the club, you’ll get (1) an invite to the New Habit Club Slack Community (please join, at the time of writing I’m the only member) and (2) one email a week from me every Monday. That’s it. No spam, no more than one email a week. No hard sells. As the site grows, I’ll be adding sections like ‘Habit Hacks’, ‘Recommended Reading’ ‘Apps’ and all sorts more. But that’s for later. The temptation was to not start or launch the site until it was finished, with new logo, and website
They (whoever “they” are) say that getting started is the
hardest part. I say that’s not true. Getting started it easy….depending on how
you define ‘start’. So, for example, if I want to start running, I can go on
amazon and buy new runners. Have I started? I can download an app for tracking
my run. Have I started? I can tell my friends I’m going for a run and see if
any of them want to come with me. Have I started? I can go for a run. Have I
started. My gut would be to say that you’ve started when you go for a run. But
one run does not a runner maketh as I think Bill Shakespeare once said*. If you
want to develop a habit of running, how many runs do you have to go on before
you can say you’ve started to develop the habit? How many steps? They (there
“they” are again) say that a journed of a thousand miles starts with a single
step. But they never clarified whether that was a literal or figurative step.
When I was training to be NLP (Neuro Linguistic Programmer)
I witnesses a powerful bit of work by Brian Colbert, a Master Trainer of NLP
from www.nlp.ie – He was working with a woman
who had always wanted to write a book, but had never gotten around to it. It
turned out, in fact, that they had never really got started. The task seemed
too daunting. She wasn’t thinking of writing a sentence, or a page, or a
chapter. She was thinking of writing a book. And that’s hard. But what, Brian
wondered, if instead of thinking about writing a book, she just thought about
writing for 10 minutes a day. How many words could she write, and how many days
would it take to write her book? The session continued in that vein until the
lady realised that if she just dedicated herself to writing 10 minutes a day,
in one year, her book (which she had wanted to write for over 20 years, but
could never figure out where to start) would be finished. Now, that’s no
guarantee that it would be any good. It might be rubbish, but that’s not the
point. Then, however, there was another problem. She didn’t know where to
start. And Brian gave one of the best pieces of advice I’ve ever heard. Start
anywhere. If you’re writing a book, it has to have a start, middle and end when
it’s finished, but it doesn’t have to be written sequentially from page one
through to the end. The same is true of nearly any task or journey.
I was reminded of that when I watched the interview with Melinda Gates on David Letterman’s excellent Netflix series “My Next Guest Needs No Introduction”. At one point, Letterman asks Gates the question about how we can possibly go about tackling the gender equality issues in society. Gates’ answers is “start somewhere”. Which is the same as “start anywhere”. If you let where to start stop you from starting, it’s a lose-lose situation for everyone.
So, I’ve started somewhere and anywhere. The New Habit Club
is open for membership. Sign up for free (with no Spam guaranteed) at www.newhabitclub.com
New habit? Join the
PS – Next week I’ll be sharing details of my first new habit. Which, of course, means I sort of lied when I said this was the first day of the rest of my life above (I just wanted to quote Xzibit, what can I tell you). I’ve now been doing this one REALLY simple habit for 56 days, and it has been an absolute game changer for me. Join now and get all the details first thing Monday morning….I can’t believe I’ve turned into such a clickbait whore.