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5 Tips to Encourage Habit Creation

5 Tips to Encourage Habit Creation

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:

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

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Guilherme Ribeiro

Freelance Writer

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Last Updated on March 13, 2019

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

Have you gotten into a rut before? Or are you in a rut right now?

You know you’re in a rut when you run out of ideas and inspiration. I personally see a rut as a productivity vacuum. It might very well be a reason why you aren’t getting results. Even as you spend more time on your work, you can’t seem to get anything constructive done. While I’m normally productive, I get into occasional ruts (especially when I’ve been working back-to-back without rest). During those times, I can spend an entire day in front of the computer and get nothing done. It can be quite frustrating.

Over time, I have tried and found several methods that are helpful to pull me out of a rut. If you experience ruts too, whether as a working professional, a writer, a blogger, a student or other work, you will find these useful. Here are 12 of my personal tips to get out of ruts:

1. Work on the small tasks.

When you are in a rut, tackle it by starting small. Clear away your smaller tasks which have been piling up. Reply to your emails, organize your documents, declutter your work space, and reply to private messages.

Whenever I finish doing that, I generate a positive momentum which I bring forward to my work.

2. Take a break from your work desk.

Get yourself away from your desk and go take a walk. Go to the washroom, walk around the office, go out and get a snack.

Your mind is too bogged down and needs some airing. Sometimes I get new ideas right after I walk away from my computer.

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3. Upgrade yourself

Take the down time to upgrade yourself. Go to a seminar. Read up on new materials (#7). Pick up a new language. Or any of the 42 ways here to improve yourself.

The modern computer uses different typefaces because Steve Jobs dropped in on a calligraphy class back in college. How’s that for inspiration?

4. Talk to a friend.

Talk to someone and get your mind off work for a while.

Talk about anything, from casual chatting to a deep conversation about something you really care about. You will be surprised at how the short encounter can be rejuvenating in its own way.

5. Forget about trying to be perfect.

If you are in a rut, the last thing you want to do is step on your own toes with perfectionist tendencies.

Just start small. Do what you can, at your own pace. Let yourself make mistakes.

Soon, a little trickle of inspiration will come. And then it’ll build up with more trickles. Before you know it, you have a whole stream of ideas.

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6. Paint a vision to work towards.

If you are continuously getting in a rut with your work, maybe there’s no vision inspiring you to move forward.

Think about why you are doing this, and what you are doing it for. What is the end vision in mind?

Make it as vivid as possible. Make sure it’s a vision that inspires you and use that to trigger you to action.

7. Read a book (or blog).

The things we read are like food to our brain. If you are out of ideas, it’s time to feed your brain with great materials.

Here’s a list of 40 books you can start off with. Stock your browser with only the feeds of high quality blogs, such as Lifehack.org, DumbLittleMan, Seth Godin’s Blog, Tim Ferris’ Blog, Zen Habits or The Personal Excellence Blog.

Check out the best selling books; those are generally packed with great wisdom.

8. Have a quick nap.

If you are at home, take a quick nap for about 20-30 minutes. This clears up your mind and gives you a quick boost. Nothing quite like starting off on a fresh start after catching up on sleep.

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9. Remember why you are doing this.

Sometimes we lose sight of why we do what we do, and after a while we become jaded. A quick refresher on why you even started on this project will help.

What were you thinking when you thought of doing this? Retrace your thoughts back to that moment. Recall why you are doing this. Then reconnect with your muse.

10. Find some competition.

Nothing quite like healthy competition to spur us forward. If you are out of ideas, then check up on what people are doing in your space.

Colleagues at work, competitors in the industry, competitors’ products and websites, networking conventions.. you get the drill.

11. Go exercise.

Since you are not making headway at work, might as well spend the time shaping yourself up.

Sometimes we work so much that we neglect our health and fitness. Go jog, swim, cycle, whichever exercise you prefer.

As you improve your physical health, your mental health will improve, too. The different facets of ourselves are all interlinked.

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Here’re 15 Tips to Restart the Exercise Habit (and How to Keep It).

12. Take a good break.

Ruts are usually signs that you have been working too long and too hard. It’s time to get a break.

Beyond the quick tips above, arrange for a 1-day or 2-days of break from your work. Don’t check your (work) emails or do anything work-related. Relax and do your favorite activities. You will return to your work recharged and ready to start.

Contrary to popular belief, the world will not end from taking a break from your work. In fact, you will be much more ready to make an impact after proper rest. My best ideas and inspiration always hit me whenever I’m away from my work.

Take a look at this to learn the importance of rest: The Importance of Scheduling Downtime

More Resources About Getting out of a Rut

Featured photo credit: Joshua Earle via unsplash.com

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