We all want to improve, to better ourselves. It’s common to know our own faults, but be unable to act upon them. Sometimes we want to be more comfortable with our bodies, yet we don’t exercise. We might want to be a better artist, but we don’t practice. The problem is: you might be tackling these issues the wrong way.
If you start reading about habit creation, you’ll see that it takes a lot more than you think to actually acquire habits into your life. Although the techniques are vast and various, if you pay attention to some specific points, you’ll see results sooner than later.
Here are the best tricks to create good habits:
1. Start small
Some people don’t realize that the whole process happens gradually. I mean, if you want to start running, you won’t be able to do 10 km on your first day without getting exhausted. The idea is that you should start with a task that is easy to tackle and grow from there. If you’re aiming for 10 km, start with three. Once you’ve got that mastered, add a couple more kilometers until you reach your goal.
If you’d like to write more, you might want to start with 100 words per day. It’s so easy that you constantly find yourself writing more. You should then go to 300, 500 and before long you’ll be writing 1000 words a day.
Just apply the same system for any new habits you want to create.
2. Pay attention to triggers
One particular characteristic of habits is that they tend to be tied to a trigger. One way to create new habits is to try to insert those triggers in your life. The same applies if you’d like to get rid of any habit.
So a classic way to remember a trigger is sticky notes. If you’d like to drink more water, you should put one on your bathroom mirror, so as soon as you wake up, you’ll see the note and drink a glass of water. Likewise, if you always feel like smoking after having coffee, you should try to control your caffeine intake.
3. Have an accountability partner
This is a powerful way to make a habit stick with you. When you have someone to call you out if you’re falling behind or cheer you on if you’re achieving a lot, you’ll quickly see it’s a strong motivator.
Ideally, both of you should be creating new habits together. So if you decide to start running every day at 7:00 am and one day you just don’t feel like it, the embarrassment of disappointing your friend will be the encouragement you need to get out of bed!
4. Have a backup plan
As much as we try to have a set schedule and some sort of regularity in our lives, the truth is that things happen. We might get sick, the kids will be home for half-term, or the weather changes and there’s a massive storm brewing.
You can easily lose track of your habits if you’re not aware of the changes around you. So, can you exercise at home if you can’t run because of the rain? Can you wake up one hour earlier to meditate just so your kids won’t distract you? If you have a backup plan, events out of your control won’t affect your habit creation.
5. Reward yourself
Changing yourself is no small feat and if it starts feeling like a burden, you’ll be tempted to quit and tell yourself you tried. But it doesn’t have to be this way. You should be having fun as you get healthier, smarter, more productive, etc.
Every time you achieve a new milestone you should give yourself a small gift, be it doughnut, a beer or whatever makes you happy. The idea here is that you’re getting something because you deserve it. It’s a reminder that you’re on the right track.
At the end of the day, there are several ways to create a new habit and make yourself a better person. These are just five ideas to help you understand how the whole process works. There are great websites out there with specific plans to help you achieve your goals.
So the question is: what’s the habit you’re going to create?
Featured photo credit: Francesco Gallarotti – Unsplash via unsplash.com