Have you ever wished you are able to develop certain habits? Yes I have and I know some of you had too. After reading this particular article I had no option than to share it with our wonderful fans. As usual, the most important things with articles like this, is immediate action. The moment you are done reading, start the implementation immediately and not tomorrow. Enjoy!
It’s well established in the world of neuroscience that our brains have a finite amount of willpower to use every day, and this is where the utility of habits come in. Established habits can make the daily chores and/or healthy choices you make, nearly effortless, and leave you with enough energy to take on new challenges and profoundly increase your overall productivity. On top of that, the act of building these habits can build up your willpower. The brain is just like a muscle, working it out makes it grow. I’ve been researching and experimenting with habits for the past year, and in this cheat sheet I’m going to outline the process of building a habit from scratch.
I’ve found it usually takes me about a month to create a new habit, but in my opinion, there are far too many factors involved to make any generalizations about these timelines, so I’ll break the building process into 3 “steps” that rely on milestones rather than timelines.
Step 1 — Plan of Action
Choose the habit you would like to create, and keep in mind, if you’re new to this it’s best to create only one habit at a time. Creating them takes effort, and you’re going to want to make it as easy as possible for yourself.
Remember — Habits are a lot like people, they are fragile and require a lot of attention early in their lives, but over time they can become strong and independent.
Choose a cue that will remind you to perform this task. This can be a location, event, emotional state or action that initiates your habit. Examples: After I get out of the shower I floss. or When I get home I will adjust the thermostat. or Whenever I’m feeling annoyed I will take a deep breath and smile.
Tips & Tricks
Starting small can make things a lot easier. In the beginning, the most important part is to be consistent, so make your Plan of Action reasonable. You can always optimize later. Example: I want to be able to meditate for an hour every day, but I’ll start with 10 minutes a day.
Life can be unpredictable and things can slip through the cracks. Remember to forgive yourself if you fail to follow your plan once or twice. However, if you continue to fail it’s probably best to adjust your plan to make it easier.Example: Instead of going to the gym five days a week I’ll dial it back to three days.
Sometimes you might need an extra push to stay consistent. If you’re having trouble sticking to your program, try setting up some stakes and/or rewards to keep you on course. Example: If I miss flossing for the day I will donate $20 to an organization I hate. or I’m going to play 30 min of my favorite video game after I finish flossing.
Step 2 — Get Cozy
If you stick to your Plan of Action you will soon notice that it becomes easier to do. However, it’s really important to keep your exact routine until the new habit is extremely easy, it should become second nature. That’s when you know that you have established a solid habit. It can take weeks or months to get to this point, and I’ve found that smaller and more frequent habits get established faster. So remember to be patient!
Step 3 — Optimize
This is the Step where you can start to tweak your new habit, but remember keep your changes small and gradual. Each time you make a change, you will have to “Get Cozy” again. If you push too hard you can end up breaking the habit entirely. Example: Now that I’m consistently meditating for 10 min a day I’ll bump it up to 20 min. or I’m going to go to the gym one extra day a week now.
I hope these steps help you to create a more productive life. Remember the key is in staying consistent and patient.
Happy Habit Building!
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This article was culled from
Cheat Sheet — Building Habits
Cartoon credit: www.nytimes.com