How to create good habits? We all have dreams, projects, we want to improve as people and professionals, but all this is impossible without good habits. Habits are the wheels that help you move towards your goals.
Surely this is nothing new, and you know the importance of habits, but what really costs us all is keeping them, right? The typical New Year’s resolutions: exercise, eat healthier, improve your languages. You start a week, two, and in the end, we end up quitting.
As a study shows, around 45% of what you do daily are habits. So with that figure, it is easy to understand that our habits largely determine our life. Think about what you want to change, what routines you want to incorporate into your life to improve it, and work with our tips to create new habits.
Steps to create habits
1. Start small: set specific goals, how to create good habits
You may really want to change and improve things. Still, if you set your mind to it all at once, you will probably end up overwhelming yourself and throwing in the towel. Going for a run, quitting smoking, eating healthy, waking up earlier… starting all these good resolutions on the same day can be crazy!
Well, you may get the first one because of that initial motivation, but if you last a week, you will be a superhero. It is best to start with one or two habits at a time and when you have them consolidated, move on to the next ones.
It is not the same to say: “I am going to get up earlier” than “I am going to get up 30 minutes earlier every day” or “I am going to meditate every day” than “I am going to meditate for 10 minutes in the morning before having breakfast.”
2. No excuses: define a plan
When it comes to changing habits, be in a continuous struggle, since your brain will always return to its old habits. Excuses and obstacles will appear, so if you think and prepare in advance, you will minimize the risk of failure.
Typical excuses can be laziness, “I don’t have time”, not having the material on hand, forgetfulness, etc.
We are weak, so do not push your luck. Identify all the possible excuses or situations in which you can fail in that habit and create tactics to avoid them.
For example: If you want to go for a run every day, prepare your shoes and sportswear the night before. If you want to meditate every day, prepare the room with the mat, cushion, incense so that later it is only to arrive and sit down. If you do not want to use the mobile while working, turn off the notifications, the sound, or put the mobile away from your sight.
3. Set reminders and warnings, how to create good habits
There is no use writing our new purpose, putting it on our vision panel, if later today we do not remember to do it. Setting alarms and warnings is one key to creating new habits.
For example, leaving notes on the bathroom mirror to remind you in the morning that you have to drink a glass of water or go for a run or set alarms on your mobile to get up every hour from your chair and stretch. Any notice that helps you not have the excuse of “I have forgotten.”
Maybe you are thinking of a more abstract habit like: “I will be more calm and present during the day“, and you may not see how you can apply this of the warnings here. Well, precisely in these cases, it is more important. Why don’t you set several alarms on your cell phone during the day that say, “Close your eyes and count to 10 while you breathe deeply”? Not just one, but one every 2-3 hours.
4. Create rituals and apply mindfulness
A good strategy to create new habitats is to turn them into rituals. A ritual is a sequence of steps that you always go in the same way. It differs from a simple habit because it is something that you really enjoy doing and that you love to do. And that is the key to help solidify the habit.
In addition, a ritual has a strong emotional and “mindfulness” component. The term mindfulness is very fashionable and means mindfulness, being present in the moment. That ritual thus becomes a special moment to be with yourself.
5. Monitor and analyze progress, how to create good habits
Establish periodic reviews to check your progress in new habits. It can be helpful to write down every night in a notebook or in a note on your mobile if you have followed the habits that day to not forget. Also, note that you have failed, what have been the reasons, to detect and prevent it from happening again.
Then review progress weekly or monthly. How many times have you complied with the new habit? Do you already do it with less effort, or does it still cost you?
If you feel you’re doing well, maybe you can set yourself new challenges and go to the next level. If you have failed a lot, analyze the reasons and if you really want to implement that habit.
You may have set out to go for a run, but it’s costing you too much, not even setting alarms or getting your clothes ready. Maybe you don’t like running at all, and you have to look for other alternatives.
Ask yourself: What is the real reason for wanting to create that habit? Do some daily exercise? In that case, there are other alternatives. Maybe you like yoga or a 10-minute routine of intense exercise, more than having to go out for a run.
6. Celebrate your achievements, how to create good habits
Do not be hard on yourself. Even if you have failed one day, there will be many others who have done well. Value those days and celebrate them. That will encourage you to continue. It is very important that you stay motivated.
Be careful. If you reward yourself for following your habit for a week, it must be consistent with the habit. If the habit is to eat healthily, the reward cannot be to eat a package of donuts or 3 hamburgers from McDonald’s.
The only way to create a new habit is to repeat it as often as necessary until it becomes automatic. This requires perseverance, motivation, and willpower.
Creating new habits is an excellent alternative to becoming a good person, but it is not an easy task. Habits are rather skills that are manifested in external behavior and therefore produce some results or others.
How we interact with ourselves, others, and the environment each day depends on our habits. Once built into the muscle, habits, like when you learned to drive or ride a bike, you do without thinking. So much so that they hardly need the energy to put them into practice.
However, it is essential to maintain awareness of your actions so that the routine (well-trodden path) does not take over you and turn you into an automaton.