The Most Useful Thing I Know that Most People Do Wrongly
I know how to develop habits.
I don’t just know it, I practice this knowledge every day.
I don’t just practice it, I do it successfully.
At the end of 2012 I developed more than a dozen daily habits. Experts say that it is impossible.
“(…) too many changes at once. I’ve seen that fail many times. (…) One habit change at a time. Some people can do two (…) and actually stick to it, but that’s much more difficult. Once you get good at that, maybe you can do two at a time.” — Leo Babauta
Self Improvement Mentor: “Changing a habit is one of the most difficult tasks that a person can undertake.”
PsyBlog: “The classic mistake people make (…) is to bite off more than they can chew.”
According to sensible advice I could change/install 3 habits during those several months.
Most people do habits wrong
First of all, because they don’t do them at all. Only 8% of people carry their New Year’s resolutions to the happy end. 54% fail miserably and the rest quit somewhere between those two extremes. But only 62% of the population (US data) make the resolutions at all.
So the first big mistake regarding habits is ignoring them.
Habits will not ignore you
The etymology of the word “habit” indicates that they make you who you are. Your habits constitute you. If you ignore the matter of developing the right habits you will still finish with a whole lot of them. A study published by a Duke University in 2006 found that more than 40 percent of the actions people performed each day weren’t the due to decision making, but were habits.
It’s how people function. If you will not take a conscious effort to govern over your habits, they will govern you.
If you don’t design and follow a course of action to develop habits that you want, you will end up with a bunch of habits that will spontaneously emerge without your thinking.
Second biggest fail with habits: lack of consistency
I am not talking here about habits already developed, but about the process of building habits.
Most people “do” habits wrong, because they give up too quickly. Solidifying a new habit takes from 18 to 254 days with a median of 66 days… and I think all those numbers are conservative.
When your habit is hardcoded in your brain you don’t have to be overly zealous about daily repetitions. However at the habit development stage you must be fanatical about regular repetitions of your discipline.
Habits are forever
If they decide who you are, they are the most important part of your existence. Habits prevail in your life.
The only “thing” you will take from this world is who you are. Your habits determine in the most part who you are. They are of utmost importance.
In my opinion you should dedicate about 80% of your energy to developing and cultivating good habits, hence becoming a good person. This is something that will go with you to eternity.
Habits facilitate everything
I developed dozens of habits and I observed and experienced how they boosted my efficiency to whatever I applied them. I got better results with my health and career. I grew spiritually and as a person. I improved the quality and quantity of my relationships. Every single time I developed a good habit, it gave me better results for less effort.
If you habitualize your behavior you save a load of time and energy. Take my health for example. The only thing I give my thoughts regarding my health is how much I sleep. I almost never think about my exercise regime, water intake, and times of meals or foods choice. I have it all habitualized.
Before I developed my healthy habits I could do something like 120 pushups, 20 chin-ups and I got sick regularly about twice a year.
Thanks to my habits I can do over 150 consecutive pushups now and the last time I was sick was in July 2013.
And that’s just one vivid example out of dozens.