Building New Habits Is Hard, Let’s Do This Small One Together

I’m a creative, a communicator, a storyteller. If you map out anything I do, the path is all winding and it’s drawn with every color of the rainbow.

I live with a retired Chief (U.S. Navy) who went in with a very Type A personality. His map is a straight line in black and white.

It takes me months to even begin to form a good habit. He makes a decision to do so and that habit is now ingrained in his essence.

So I get it, some people are really good at simply deciding and they now do a new habit religiously.

Then there are others like me. I decide, I really do. Then I think. Then ‘rationalize’. Then bargain. Then procrastinate. Then admonish. Then go to bed and repeat the whole process over again some other day.

Making a new habit is HARD.

But it is worth it, you just need to keep going.

“Fall Down seven times, get up eight”

Japanese proverb

Maybe there is a habit you want to create, yet it keeps kicking your rear end. Let’s try this. Let’s start with a smaller one.

You can do a smaller one! I know you can. Here’s one I challenge you to do for a week. Seven days, you can give me seven days of just one thing, right? Heck yeah, you can!

This one little habit sounds simple, yet it may get you close to biting your tongue off. No one will notice it, but they will feel it.

It’s right up there with James Clear’s straightforward advice:

“Shut up and do your reps”

James Clear

No reps involved! See, it’s getting better already, right?

It’s the ‘shut up’ part. But only in one very specific situation: when you’re given a compliment.

Here’s the challenge – when you are given a compliment, your new habit is two part:

  1. Say thank you (and mean it)
  2. Stop talking

That’s it.

This was one of the hardest habits I learned to break. I used to counter every compliment I ever got.

I like your shoes” – “thanks, I’ve had them forever…

“I love your bag” – “thanks, I got it on sale…

“Your hair looks really good” – “thanks, for once it decided to act right…”

What I was doing was devaluing myself. Audibly telling the world I didn’t deserve a compliment.

And it made people uncomfortable. Who wants to give a compliment to someone who combats you? Those responses were putting down their compliments (you like an old pair of shoes? You like a cheap bag? Although that one may not always be a devalue, especially if you get an amazing, steal deal – then you have to share, I mean, who doesn’t love a great score?).

The other uncomfortable part is, the compliment giver may take those comments as fishing for more. In reality, my comments were more of a neon flashing light pointing the way to my insecurities.

What if saying nothing makes you uncomfortable? Here are some alternatives:

  1. Say thank you – give a genuine compliment in return
  2. Say thank you – take a breath – introduce a new subject

The main point is to not cancel your compliment. I think there has been a significant decline in the number of compliments given, let’s see if we can turn that tide and not only give more compliments, but accept more, as well.


Are you ready to take the challenge? Start today! Then keep me posted. And if you need any encouragement – email me – Lisa (dot) McDonald (at) Career Polish (dot) com. You can do this!


I help amazing people get career happy and companies stay true to brand.

Coaching: Career, Emotional Intelligence, Confidence, Business, Brand, Yoga

Click here – – to find out more.

All opinions and views expressed in this article are my own, unless attributed. They’re normally pretty spot-on (because I’m obsessive about career topics and communications). The humor sprinkled in is Mr. B approved, my dog who thinks I’m hilarious (maybe because I’m his meal ticket).

Want A Better View – Clean The Window

clean the windowAs I was sitting here this morning wondering what thoughts are going to pop out of my head and onto the paper today I looked out my window.  I didn’t notice the view beyond but the “puppy art” splayed all across the window itself.

Puppy art is what I call the nose smudges, spittle from barking and paw marks that my pups artistically leave for me on the windows throughout my home, office and car.

My dogs inspire me in so many ways.

It is a bit overcast today, storms are moving in but right now the sun is peeking out now and then and everything is alive and green from the rains yesterday.  It is beautiful and serene.  Unfortunately, I had to get past the puppy art to see this.

That’s when it hit me – everything is right there.  We can see it, we can feel it, we can touch it if we look out the window.  It is not a matter of making major moves – I don’t have to go to another location to see these sites, it is a matter of making a minor change or action.

Clean the window.

Once a goal is established or a thought is generated or a passion discovered we often think we have to do some miraculous overhaul to achieve it.

Not necessarily.

I don’t need to move across the state or even go outside to see or get a better view of a beautiful dogwood blooming or the daffodils swaying in the breeze – they are right there.  To get a better view I have to clean the window.

Your window is all the mind junk you have littering and blocking your view.

Clean it out.

Dog smudge = I can’t.  One spray of cleaner and some paper towels = I can.

Spittle = I’ll fail.  Another spray of cleaner and the same paper towels = I’ll learn from it.

Paw Prints – I’m scared.  Squeeze of the trigger and a little wiping = I’m excited.

One final spray of cleaner and a final polishing and the view went from “I just don’t know” to “oh hell yes!”

When a negative thought or paw print appears on your window today immediately take out the cleaner and wipe it away and replace it with a positive.  In no time flat you won’t even see the window but instead focus on the beautiful view outside.


Lisa K. McDonald, CPRW