Everyone knows how impactful bad habits can be on your life (i.e. biting nails, procrastinating, over-eating, etc…). Good habits can be just as impactful and helpful as bad habits are hurtful (i.e. eating well, working out, budgeting, etc…).
A habit, by definition, is something that happens consistently and reliably. It is difficult for you to start or kick a habit if motivation is your only helper. Gyms are extremely busy at the beginning of each year, because everyone is motivated to start off the year right. But pretty quickly after the holiday spirit dies out, the business of their schedules will ruin their streaks. Their goal, once driven by solid motivation, becomes another failure. I’m no stranger to this and have actually stopped setting my own New Year’s goals for this reason.
Forming good habits can be a huge factor in whether or not you will be successful in your goals. This is why The Power of Habit, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People and Atomic Habits are some of the most popular books for business and leadership. I can tell you from my own experience working on Budgets, when I’m not actively working daily, it is very easy to become discouraged and feel bad about the amount of progress I am making. When I heard Donald Miller’s podcast on habit building and achieving more, it was so good that I wanted to write down and share my takeaways.
Here 4 ways to get better at keeping habits:
- Scale It Down
If your habit is remotely difficult, your motivation will run out quickly. Try initiating your habit with a 2 min rule for a week or two and work up from there. By practicing getting your habit started, you will get used to the routine and pretty soon it will be easier to push it further. If you feel yourself pushing yourself too far, it might be time to scale back. It is better to keep the routine than to lose the habit.
2. Stack Your Habits
Anchor the new habit you want to build on top of an old habit that you already have. If your goal is to read more and you already have a morning coffee, that would be a good time to sit down and read a few pages. Building upon the habits that already exist in your life makes it easier for you to continue new ones.
3. Create Context
A lot of people think they lack the motivation to continue their habit, but what they really lack is clarity. Making it really clear how your habit is going to work will help you stick to it. Habits are typically tied to a context (time and place).
4. Be Aware That Your Environment Matters
If you want to fall asleep more easily, your bedroom should be a sacred place free from distracting devices that keep you awake. If you want to floss more, make it really easy for yourself by putting your floss on the counter. And if you don’t like the string floss, get some flossers. Design your environment around the habit you are trying to build and remove as many barriers as you can.
I only touched the surface of this awesome interview with James Clear, author of Atomic Habits. Give it a listen!
Have your own tips for building habits? Leave a comment with what helps you keep or break habits.
p.s. If you’re interested in building a new habit, try out Budgets and start sorting your bank transactions every day or every week. By doing so, you become more conscience of how well you are sticking to your budget each month!