As humans, we are flock animals who follow the crowd and trends. There aren’t many solo-humans. We are a social species who need each other to live meaningful lives, and other people enrich our lives.
Building a new habit is mostly about you, though. You, trying to be a better you.
Habits will often make you a better person, both for yourself but also for those around you.
Let’s be honest — building a new habit is hard. If it weren’t, many more people would be achieving all their goals. It takes effort.
The magical date that will help you change your life does not exist either.
Don't let the calendar hold you back from making a change right now instead of waiting for the next “special time.”
Don’t be one of many failing to achieve their goals.
According to US News, 80% who start a new year’s resolution fail to accomplish their goals.
There are many reasons for this. One could be that the beginning of a new year is not enough to start building better habits.
January is not a magic month. There is no logic to this idea. You should start your personal development when you need to — even if you start on April 23rd.
If you start working on yourself because you desire to do so, you are the driver. You are the primus motor. Don’t be led; you should be leading.
Start building your habit right now as your own driver.
How do you build your habit?
It takes between 18–254 days to build a habit.
There are many ways to build a habit and many ideas you can use to get started.
An issue many people face is that they bite over more than they can chew. By signing up for a marathon in one month if you have no running experience, you set yourself up for failure. Most likely, you will get injured instead of crossing the finish line.
To build a habit, you need to think about the following:
- What are your goals?
- Are your goals realistic? (Aim high, but you will most likely not beat Elon Musk at the Space Race)
- How much time can you dedicate to reaching your goals?
- How many days are you willing to work for your habit? What is your threshold? When will you quit?
- Pick up on small wins along the way. If not, it will feel harder than it ought to be.
What are your goals?
Your goals can be anything. Don’t limit yourself because your goals sound extreme. If that were the case, we would never see any triathletes competing in Iron Man competitions.
It takes between 18–254 days to build a habit.
To implement the changes required to build your habit, you must be determined to spend months potentially.
Don’t worry. On average, it takes 66 days.
Having a goal leads you to something pre-defined. You will experience ups and downs, but reaching your goal is satisfying.
If this goal is established early, you know why you are doing what you are doing. Tracking your progress is also easier as you can link everything you do to that goal.
Are your goals realistic?
My goal is not to compete in the Olympics, but to be more productive, organized, and focused.
Another goal of mine is to learn Java in 4 months. I know I can fit it into my schedule, and I am determined to do well.
Both goals are realistic and possible to track.
I know it is possible.
I know it is not possible to compete in the Olympics in 2021.
Adjust your goals or be disappointed.
How much time can you dedicate to reaching your goals?
Before you start your journey, have a conversation with yourself where you ask the following question: how much time am I able to invest?
I have a full-time job, two kids, I study for my UX Bachelor’s Degree, I teach, write articles and tutorials, create courses, and try to work out.
If you add a goal, you need to know if you can invest in this goal and how many hours per week.
If you can answer this, you have come a long way.
For how long are you willing to work for your habit?
If your new goal is to build a habit, you need to be prepared.
It can take 21 days, 66 days, or 250 days. Are you willing to work for it for many months? Can you see the long term benefit of the habit?
It took me around 60 days to get into the habit of waking up at 5 am. This is the only way I can work on my other goals in peace. My determination freed up over 700 hours per year.
If you quit too soon, you might miss out on a life-changing habit, but you have to stick with it.
Pick up the small wins.
If you only focus on the main goals in the distance without appreciating the little wins along the way, you might have a hard time.
When I started running in 2012, I ran a 10k in 1 hour and 17 minutes.
I had no idea what I was capable of or what was considered good, but eventually, I knew that my long term goal was to finish a 10k in under 45 minutes.
That’s a massive improvement, but the road there will be easier by celebrating the little wins.
Finishing in under one hour, 55 minutes, 50 minutes, and finally, 48 minutes and 52 seconds.
I haven’t reached 45 yet, and although the road there is long, I can enjoy the little wins along the way.
Celebrate the little wins. It will be your pit stops.
Start building a habit or set a new goal, but don’t do it because it is trendy.
We, humans, need closure, and we need new beginnings. New years eve is a visual representation of both. We flip the calendar and start fresh.
Forget about new year’s. It is not a magical date. We are not better suited to work on our goals because of a certain date.
Grab any date.
March 14th? A perfect date if it happens to be the date you decide to begin your journey. June 2nd? Equally perfect.
The date doesn’t matter. The only thing that matters is that you start working on your goals when you need them in your life or when you can.
Is it true that you aren’t able to do it right now?
Convincing yourself that quitting is OK after a week is easy. Convincing yourself to stay is hard. Small victories are important and make sure you can see the long term benefits of your habit.
Good luck, and remember — any date is your date.
Thanks for sticking with me till the end.