- “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence then, is not an act, but a habit.” – Aristotle
Reading Length: 7 minutes
How many times have you said “I’m going to…” and end up giving up? You may have heard it takes 21 days to add a new habit but that’s not always true. It takes dedication, commitment, discipline, consistency and the use of a plan. For more success, fulfillment and productivity, we need good habits. But not all habits are created equal as some can either be good or bad in the long run. The key is replacing good habits over the bad habits.
- Start with small changes and an easy habit.
Commit to something small and easy for the next 30 days. For example, making it a goal to exercise for 1 minute a day, writing 3 sentences a day, eating one healthy meal per week or meditating for 20 minutes a day. Most people want to accomplish things instantaneously or overnight but it leads to no results. Acknowledge that building a new habit takes time so be patient. Rather than taking on everything, try small little steps towards the habit.
- Focus on one good habit at a time.
It’s very difficult to tackle multiple good habits all at once. It’s easier to work on them one by one. Make a list of all your good habit and order the list by importance. Look for any “keystone habits” which triggers another habit.
- Get clarity.
Be clear about your goals and why you want to add this new habit. Have an intrinsic motivation for that goal. Make sure you want the goal because of you and not for anyone else.
- Write down your goals with a plan.
Research shows that you’re more likely to achieve a goal when you are clear on the location and time you will do it. Use an “implementation intention” into a “if/then” statement. Use “implementation scheduling” by placing it on your schedule. Include an end result when writing down your goals too.
- Think positive.
Being positive can help overcome the negative thoughts and stress associated with the changes you’re trying to make. It’s not about ignoring your negative thoughts but simply acknowledging it and letting it go. Don’t judge yourself too much especially if the goal is difficult and harder to achieve. Have some self-compassion, empathy and love for yourself. There’s no point in worrying on the past if you have a setback.
- Be committed.
Commitment is about giving time and energy and remaining dedicated. It will make it easier to take on the challenges that come your way and increase your chances of success.
- Identify your cues, triggers and obstacles.
Reflect and brainstorm all the triggers that may arise which can decrease chances of failure. This prevents you from reverting back to your old habits. Attach the good habit to an automatic behavior you already do everyday. This includes simple things like showering, brushing teeth, getting coffee and more.
- Reflect on what is holding you back.
It may not be the good habit itself that is the barrier but something else. Identify what is holding you back so you can find a solution to overcome it.
- Use the Seinfeld Method.
Jerry Seinfeld calls this “Don’t Break the Chain strategy.” He would write a joke everyday and place a big red X on his calendar. It serves as a visual reminder of your progress and encourages you to keep going. Get a calendar and add onto the chain.
- Journal on your wins and mistakes.
When you journal on your wins and mistakes, you can reflect back and develop a strategy much easier. It can assist you in identifying the obstacles and minimize future mistakes.
- Have a plan for both success and failure.
Be prepared for failure when attempting to build a new habit. Keep in mind that it’s normal to have slip ups. Develop a plan to address that failure in order to get back on track with the habit. Some strategies are: 1) Follow a schedule rather than a deadline. 2) Choose identity over performance. 3) Never miss out on a good habit twice.
- Get support from others.
Your friends and family can influence and support your progress. Let them know about the habit you’re attempting to build. You can also consider an accountability partner to report your progress with each other.
- Celebrate the small wins.
Celebrating small wins encourages motivation and discourages you from reverting back to old habits. When rewarding yourself, you’re stimulating a circuit of your brain associated with achievement and motivation. Reward yourself in a healthy manner so you can associate the good habit with pleasure.
- Check your environment.
Your environment plays a great role in developing good habits. See if your environment supports you towards your progress.
- Try to build a routine.
Consider engaging in the good habit on a daily basis or regularly so it becomes a routine. Consistency is key.
Make it a rule not to judge yourself and just experiment with the new habit for at least one month.
Visualize yourself doing a bad habit and then the opposite of that habit. Always end visualization with a positive image.
- Eliminate the repetitive non-essential choices.
In a Florida State University study by Roy Baumeister, repeated choices can prevent you from making smarter decisions. Figure out what non-essential choices you can remove from your life that isn’t adding any value.
- Focus on 1% improvement.
Find satisfaction and acceptance in improving 1% everyday. Good habits can take weeks, months or maybe years to stick.
- Think abundance, not loss.
Good habits can lead to a positive identity change. Don’t focus on what you’re losing but focus on what you’re gaining.
Check out this video I made on “How to make good habits stick!” Please comment, like and subscribe!
SUMMARY OF BLOGS:
15 Key Tips to Develop Good Habits
3 Simple Things You Can Do Right Now to Build Better Habits
How To Make Good Habits Stick: 11 Secrets From Research
18 Tricks to Make New Habits Stick
How to Develop Big Picture Thinking And Think More Clearly
9 Strategies To Develop Good Habits And Make Them Stick