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Our habits can either make us or break us. Our habits shape who we are and what we become.
That’s why we must form good habits. People believe that they can transform their lives in a single night through sheer willpower and determination. But that’s impossible! It’s like following your New Year’s Resolution in the first couple of days and then giving up on the 5th day.
Does the reason for this belief stem from our easy and convenient lifestyles? We can order food to be delivered to our place in less than 30 minutes. We can get a ride via Uber. Everything is fast and we get what we want fast.
However, building habits and making them last requires a lot of time and a whole lot of effort. It’s not going to happen overnight. You can’t build the life you want if you are a slave to your bad habits. You will get fat and unhealthy if you don’t exercise and follow a proper diet. Your business will not grow if you don’t work on it. Your relationships will not blossom if you don’t step up your game. Habits determine what we are in life.
Here are some tips to create good and long-lasting habits.
- Have a Grand Vision That You Must Achieve
Man is always searching for a higher meaning. If you don’t have a higher goal in mind, then you’ll find it hard to stick to your habits. Get in touch with yourself and have a grand vision for your life, use this grand vision to inspire and desire change within yourself.
Whenever you stumble, lose your way, or get tired of your life, remember your vision. Remember that you’re not doing this for yourself but you’re doing this for something far greater than yourself. Push through your obstacles and use this grand vision to build the life that you want to have.
- Assess your readiness for change
Find out what stage you are on James O. Prochaska‘s transtheoretical model of behavior change. Once you’ve identified what level you are in, aim for the next level until you reach the final stage.
There are 6 stages:
- Pre-contemplation: People at this stage are unaware of their desire for change but they have some minor thoughts about changing.
- Contemplation: People at this stage are aware of their desire and they would like to change their habits.
- Preparation: People at this stage intend to have a concrete plan for change and they can probably start within the next 30 days.
- Action: People at this stage have made progress. And are still making progress.
- Maintenance: People at this stage have already taken action but they may fall back to old habits if it isn’t properly maintained.
- Termination: The habit has been formed and it is a part of the person.
- Which stage are you in?
- Set smart and realistic goals
You need to set proper goals that can be achieved in a certain time frame. Vague and unrealistic goals often end in failure.
Do you know what SMART goals are? SMART stands for specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and time-bounded.
You can practice setting SMART goals by setting daily goals that you have to do. Have something that you have to achieve every day. It can be something as simple as drinking at least 8 glasses of water every day or exercising for at least 10 minutes a day. If you keep following and setting goals every day, you’ll eventually form a habit of setting goals and seeing through those goals.
- Start small
When we set our first goals or try to change something in our lives, we often try to change the big things. Sometimes we even try to change everything all at once! We come up with long bucket lists that we must achieve.
Even though it is grand and amazing, this kind of goal setting and habit-forming hardly ever works. And when they fail, we become depressed and give up on making goals entirely.
This doesn’t mean that you should give up though, this simply means that you have to start small and work on achieving small victories. Use the momentum of small victories to eventually set bigger and harder goals.
If this was a game, then you’d have to beat the minions first before fighting the boss. Don’t set the bar too high, or else you’re going to take a big fall if you fail.
- Track your progress
“That which is measured improves.”
– Karl Pearson
According to a weight loss study with 1,700 participants, people who kept daily records of what they ate lost twice as much weight when compared to those who didn’t keep any records at all.
This doesn’t just apply to weight loss, the same can be applied to any goal. Keeping track of your progress makes you more self-aware. And with the knowledge of your current standing, you are able to make slight changes to your plans to better achieve your goals.
- Analyze your progress and adjust your habits
Things change, our habits aren’t permanent and they can improve over time. Start small and gather momentum, add one good habit over the other. You’ll eventually have enough confidence, willpower, and momentum to do big things.
The opposite is true as well. Our good habits can deteriorate and eventually turn into bad habits. That is why it is very important to track our progress.
Once you are aware of your current standing, you can make the necessary changes to achieve your goal. If you know that you’re heading down a bad path, you can change it.
If you’re losing progress, make changes to improve it. If you’re improving too much, check on your health and decide if you can do better.
Just keep pushing yourself to be a better person. Keep pushing yourself and take one small step each day. After all, Rome wasn’t built in a day.
- Have a buddy who follows the same habit
It’s good to have someone who you can work together with. If you plan to quit smoking, then it’s good to have a buddy around. Make a bet with one another, the first one to smoke would have to pay the other 100 bucks or something.
In short, it becomes much harder to quit on your goals if you have a buddy around.
- Reward Yourself
Reward yourself for a job well done. Treat yourself to an all you can eat buffet after dieting for a whole month. Or you can spend some money once in a while if you’re trying to be frugal. Just don’t overdo it. Ok?