First off; this is not about trying to achieve a goal. Most people get wrapped up in setting and achieving goals and hoping that good habits will magically follow. When you set out to form good habits, the idea is to build a lasting behavior. This would then affect your every aspect of your life.
Many people dread forming new habits. It takes too long and its too difficult. Excuses follow and before you know it, years whizz by and you are still stuck with old patterns. You probably know people that have never changed since college.
Therefore, realize that any grand goals and ambitions are irrelevant if you will not form new and better habits.
It may not be as simple as 1-2-3, but here are three strategies to help you form good habits:
1. Begin with an easy habit. One that is so easy that you cannot say no
Is there such thing as an easy habit? Oh yes, there is! The most important thing in building any habit is consistency. It is not about how well you perform but rather how consistent you are that makes a big difference. You may hit the gym for only 10 minutes a day, but are you able to come back each day of the week?
As a matter of fact, forming a habit should be so simple that it is even laughable. It should be something you can hardly say no to it. Don’t get too wrapped up in grandiose goals like, “I have to get fit within the next four weeks,” or “I have to write 5000 words every week.”
Start writing three sentences each day or spending 5 minutes at the gym each day. Soon enough, you will be religiously stuck up in your new habit. Just start small, and you will inevitably pick up the intensity as you go along.
2. Create an enabling environment
It takes a ton of effort to form good habits. Therefore, you will want to create a supportive environment so that you do not frustrate your own efforts. It is just not about will power and personal discipline but also about your environment. Sometimes you may even have to cut off some people because they exert a lot of influence on your habits.
Certain environments make it extra difficult to form good habits and if it is within your power to change them, crack the whip.
3. Develop a fallback plan for when you fail
You are not too good to not be disappointed. What did you think, that it will be smooth sailing and you’ll never get off course? Even people who build great habits for years occasionally falter.
The idea is to have a plan on how you will pick yourself up and get back on course. If you skipped a workout session, set a “never-miss-twice” rule for yourself. Don’t be too hard on yourself or judge yourself harshly. Set schedules rather than deadlines and focus on building a new identity rather than performance.
Remember, an occasional slip from your habits does not make you a failure. Top performers get back on track as quickly as possible.
Are you trying to form good habits? Share with us in the comments section.