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7 Signs That You Have Formed A Good Habit

7 Signs That You Have Formed A Good Habit

A habit is a routine that you keep repeating without really thinking about it. But when does a routine become a habit? And when is a habit a good habit?

1. You are consistent.

You wake up every day at 8:30 am. That’s a habit. Even if the alarm does not go off, you still wake up at that time.

True, sometimes you might oversleep or wake up earlier. But those days are the exceptions that make the rule. The rule is your good habit of waking up at 8:30 AM.

Consistency is how you get results. Imagine exercising for two months, and then stopping. Sure, you got stronger and leaner during those two months. But what’s going to happen once you stop? Bye-bye flatter belly and leaner legs.

Build the habit so that you get to keep everything you get.

2. Doing it moves you closer to your dream life.

How’s the image of you in your dream life? Are you, say, healthy and fit?

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If it is your dream, for example, to be healthy and fit, exercising now is a good habit to have–it gets you closer to the fit image of you in your dream life.

At the same time, sinking on the couch for hours while drinking beers might be a bad habit for you–it definitely doesn’t move you closer to your dream life of a healthy and fit you.

With everything that you do, ask yourself: “Does this move me closer or farther away from my dream life?” The answer might surprise you!

3. You don’t have to use willpower to do it.

When you get in the car and put your seat-belt on, you hardly have to persuade yourself to do it. You just do it.

Now compare this to exercise. Most people have to fight with themselves to get off the couch and do it. Why? Because exercise is not yet a habit. If exercise was a habit, then these people would also just do it. Exercising would come naturally for them.

Habits don’t require willpower, and if you think they do, then that’s a sign that what you’re doing is not a habit yet.

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4. When you don’t do it, you feel “strange”.

You get in the car. You’re about to put your seat-belt on when your phone rings. You answer the phone. You then go ahead and drive, skipping the “put your seat-belt on” step.

Yet, after a few hundred feet, driving feels strange. It’s as if there’s something missing, but what is it?

Oh, right, the seat-belt!

When a behavior is a habit, it’s so ingrained in you, that if for any reason you don’t do it, it feels really weird.

That’s awesome for a good habit like exercise. When it comes to skipping a workout, you might actually feel strange and inclined to actually work out. Yet, that’s bad for bad habits like smoking; you skip a cigarette and just feel like something’s missing, so you go have a smoke.

Habits are powerful in making you act, and they’re hard to resist. Take care of what becomes a habit and what doesn’t.

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5. You take pride in doing it.

You are proud of your daily writing routine, just like writer Jeff Goins is for his. Daily writing is such a good habit to have. That’s what makes you a writer. You’re writing day in, day out. Your daily writing is what makes you who you are.

6. You find it hard to help others do it, because it’s so natural to you that you don’t know how to explain it.

Because habits can be unconscious, it might be hard to help others do what you do so naturally.

So if you’re a writer, and have the good habit of writing daily, it might be hard to help others also develop a writing routine. The reason? You don’t really know what makes you write daily. You just do it.

Sure you might come up with tips like “make writing a priority,” but your tips are generic. (Admit it!)

Yet being a bad teacher shows one thing: Writing is a very well established habit! Good for you!

Now having established good habits doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll be a bad at helping others create a routine. If you have struggled in developing this habit, then your chances of being a good teacher go up dramatically!

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But if writing, or exercising, or eating right, or whatever your good habit is, was natural for you to start with, then sorry, you might not be the best teacher.

7. You don’t realize you’re doing it.

A habit might be so well-established that you might not even know you’re doing it. Here’s an example. Have you noticed that some people smile when given a compliment, while others say “thank you”, while others look down because they’re shy?

All three behaviors are habits.

These individuals don’t know they have the habit of smiling, or saying “thank you”, or looking down when given a compliment.

Yet they do it, each and every time.

Similarly, do you remember putting your seat-belt on today? No?

That’s totally normal. Putting your seat-belt on is such an ingrained habit that you just do it without thinking about it. It’s almost unconscious. A good, well-established habit that shows you have done a good job training your brain to make you wear your seat-belt when you get in the car. Nice!

So what habit do you need to work on? What is it that you want to do that makes you think you need more self-discipline, when in fact, you need to focus your attention on building the habit?

More by this author

Maria Brilaki

Maria helps people create habits that stick not just for a month or two but for years and decades.

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Last Updated on August 6, 2020

Why Working 9 to 5 Is Outdated

Why Working 9 to 5 Is Outdated

Bristol is the most congested city in England. Whenever I have to work at the office, I ride there, like most of us do. Furthermore, I always make sure to go at off hours; otherwise, the roads are jam-packed with cars, buses, bikes, even pedestrians. Why is that? Because everyone is working a traditional 9 to 5 work day.

Where did the “9 to 5” Come From?

It all started back in 1946. The United States government implemented the 40 hour work week for all federal employees, and all companies adopted the practice afterwards. That’s 67 years with the same schedule. Let’s think about all the things that have changed in the 67 years:

  • We went to the moon, and astronauts now live in space on the ISS.

  • Computers used to take up entire rooms and took hours to make a single calculation. Now we have more powerful computers in our purses and back pockets with our smartphones.

  • Lots of employees can now telecommute to the office from hundreds, and even thousands of miles away.

In 1946 a 9-5 job made sense because we had time after 5pm for a social life, a family life. Now we’re constantly connected to other people and the office, with the Internet, email on our smartphones, and hashtags in our movies and television shows. There is no downtime anymore.

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Different Folks, Different Strokes

Enjoying your downtime is an important part of life. It recharges your batteries and lets you be more productive. Allowing people to balance life and work can provide them with much needed perspective and motivation to see the bigger picture of what they are trying to achieve.

Some people are just more productive when they’re working at their optimal time of day, after feeling well rested and personally fulfilled.  For some that can be  from 4 a.m. to 9 a.m; for others, it could be  2 p.m. to 7 p.m.

People have their own rhythms and routines. It would be great if we could sync our work schedule to match. Simply put, the imposed 8-hour work day can be a creativity and morale killer for the average person in today’s world.

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Productivity and Trust Killer

Fostering creativity among employees is not always an easy endeavor, but perhaps a good place to start is by simply not tying their tasks and goals to a fixed time period. Let them work on their to-do list at their own pace, and chances are, you’ll get the best out of your employee who feels empowered instead of babysat.

That’s not to say that you should  allow your team to run wild and do whatever they want, but restricting them to a 9 to 5 time frame can quickly demoralize people. Set parameters and deadlines, and let them work at their own creative best with the understanding that their work is crucial to the functioning of the entire team.

Margaret Heffernan, an entrepreneur who previously worked in broadcasting, noted to Inc that from her experience, “treating employees like grown-ups made it more likely that they would behave the same way.” The principle here is to have your employees work to get things done, not to just follow the hands on the clock.

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A Flexible Remote Working Policy

Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer famously recalled all her remote workers, saying she wanted to improve innovation and collaboration, but was that the right decision? We’ve all said that we’re often more productive in a half day working from home than a full day working in the office, right? So why not let your employees work remotely from home?

There are definitely varying schools of thought on remote working. Some believe that innovation and collaboration can only happen in a boardroom with markers, whiteboards and post-it notes and of course, this can be true for some. But do a few great brainstorms trump a team that feels a little less stressed and a little more free?

Those who champion remote working often note that these employees are not counting the clock, worried about getting home, cooking dinner or rushing through errands post-work. No one works their 9-5 straight without breaks here and there.  Allowing some time for remote working means employees can handle some non-work related tasks and feel more accomplished throughout the day. Also, sometimes we all need to have a taste of working in our pajamas, right?

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It’ll be interesting to see how many traditional companies and industries start giving their employees more freedom with their work schedule. And how many end up rescinding their policies like Yahoo did.

What are your thoughts of the traditional 9-5 schedule and what are you doing to help foster your team’s productivity and creativity? Hit the comments and let us know.

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