According to a study out of Duke University, 45% of the activities we do in a day are already a habit.
Think about when you get up in the morning. Most of us are still waking up but have still managed to put the coffee on, have a glass of water, feed the dog and get in the shower. All a habit.
We set out to make positive changes to our lives and our families’ lives with habits. But they can sometimes be difficult to achieve. So we’ve compiled 7 tips to help you stick to the process of forming your new habits and ultimately reach your goals.
Commit to a minimum of 30 days
Science shows that it actually takes more than 30 days to form a habit, but if you can at least commit to 30 days, you’ll have a better chance of it becoming a habit. Embracing the idea of a longer timeline to create a habit and understanding that it’s a process can take the pressure off and improve the odds of forming that habit.
Write it down
Writing the habit you’d like to work on down on paper allows you to look at it daily (in your planner, sticky note on your desk etc.), and encodes the habit in your brain. Our brains decide what to keep and what to throw away, but when you write it down, it better encodes on our brain and has a greater chance of being remembered.
Perfection isn’t your friend
If you’re trying to make the habit you’re cultivating perfect, it may discourage you and even force you to give up on it all together.
Come to terms with the idea that you may not complete your habit perfectly every day.
Forming a habit is a process. Embrace the process with all its ebbs and flows. It’s most likely going to take longer to form your habit than expected and it won’t be a straight line to the finish. Perfection is not the key to success. Doing the work, following this guide and staying positive about your process will help you win in the end.
Build your new habit on something you already do. For example, if you get up and make a coffee first thing in the morning every morning, then make that the thing you do before you get ready to work out. The formula for stacking habits is “When I do X, I will do Y.”
Make the process of forming a habit satisfying
Reward yourself when you’ve completed your habit. If the habit you’re trying to form is a morning workout, take 15 minutes after and enjoy your fav morning coffee or tea in silence before your day begins.
A Stanford professor and author BJ Fogg, after studying tiny habits, wanted to get better at flossing his teeth. He would floss one tooth a night successfully and he would reward himself by saying “well you did one thing right today”. He then flossed two teeth and so on. Fogg stated that “Tiny habits give you a sense of control”. It’s less of a fight with your brain to floss one tooth than ten. After a while, the process is so gradual, that your brain stops fighting. Even when you’re flossing your entire mouth.
Track or Measure your habit.
Tracking a habit can be useful to people who like to see progress. Everyone loves a before and after pic. Tracking and measuring can also be a form of motivation.
Be careful though… tracking and measuring can hold you more accountable, be sure not to let the tracking mechanism and measuring system override the reason you’re trying to form a new habit.
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