There is a Spanish proverb that “habits are like cobwebs. Then they are like cables”. This saying neatly encapsulates the positive strength of a habit that is firmly in place.
It is not much an overstatement to say that if you wish to achieve almost any of significance in life then you need to have good habits. The fact is that we all have things we do habitually. The problem is that many of these habits undermine our success rather than enable us to achieve our goals. Here we will look at how we can replace those unhelpful habits with habits which are empowering.
Step One: Identify Your Habit
The first step is to identify the new habit that you wish to install. Ask yourself what is the one behavior that if you did it on a regular basis, would do the most to help you achieve your goal. If your goal is to become calmer and more centered, then the habit might be to do 10 minutes of meditation every morning. If you want to lose weight then it might be to do a daily fast for at least 15 hours.
Step Two: Schedule Your Habit
Decide when you are going to do the habit. Scheduling and committing to doing that habit will make it much more likely to be successful. Many people find success with habits when they do it first thing in the morning. You have fewer things that can get in the way at this time of the day.
Step Three: Measuring and Evaluation
Keep a record of your habit and mark off when you complete it each day. You might want to use a spreadsheet or a calendar for this. You may also want to look into online apps like Stickk which provides a user-friendly platform to keep you on track to achieving your goal.
Once a behavior becomes habitual we no longer notice that we do it. For example, few us have to actively make ourselves brush our teeth in the morning. In order to make a habit this seamless, it is important to do it consistently for at least thirty days so that it becomes ingrained. During this 30 day window, it is essential to monitor yourself.
Step Four: Reward Yourself
In order to reinforce your new habit reward yourself each time that you complete it. This could be as simple as saying “well done” straight after completing the habit. You should also establish a more significant reward for when you have completed 30 days of the habit.
Final words on learning good habits
It is highly recommended that you don’t try to install more than one habit at a time. Remember that you only have a limited amount of willpower. If you use it up trying to change one habit you have less mental energy for committing to other habits.
Once a habit becomes habitual you won’t need to exert the same willpower to keep it going. Focus on one habit for at least thirty days before embarking on another habit.