Sticking with good habits can be a real challenge sometimes but once habits do settle in they tend to benefit us. You can turn your good intentions into lasting habits. Habits are a very clever trick of the brain to help us save energy by automating tasks. It’s the reason why we look both left and right before we cross the street and why we lock up the door behind us when we leave or why we brush our teeth just before we go to bed, these are things we usually don’t even notice we are doing because when habits are really entranced it lets us live a large part of our life on autopilot and that frees up so much of mental energies for which we can do things instead.
But if you ever tried implementing a new habit you might realize it’s really hard to make it stick. Here are some tools and techniques to implement good ha bits effectively:
TIME: The actions that we perform are part of our habits tend to be pretty small but because we repeat them over and over again their effect really adds up and so we can have really profound impact on our lives. Let’s say for an example we get the habit of cleaning our desks ones we are done working for the day this might satisfy us for starting the next day free of any distractions and as a result, we might be slightly more productive the next day. If we do this every day over a course of one year it will be a huge productivity boost on the flip side a messy desk can decrease your productivity in the long term. “ Good habits make time your ally, bad habits make time your enemy”.
IDENTITY: If we actually want to fundamentally change our behavior we need to focus on our desired identity, like saying I want to become a great runner. Once we decided what kind of person we want to be, we can then start building the habits that form this identity. And to know what these habits are we just need to ask ourselves, what would this person do? What a great runner do? You might come up with the answer like a good runner will probably eat well and stretch frequently. Once we established what Identity forming habit we want to implement its really important that we repeat this habit over and over again.
SPECIFIC: One we wanna get a habit of the ground it’s really important that we are specific in our intentions, so it includes knowing the Where? When? How often? And these are the things we can write down and make you a bit more specific about doing it.
OBSTACLES: To make sure we don’t drop out before a habit even has time to settle in we wanna get rid of any obstacles standing in the way repeating that particular habit. For example, we want to become a great photographer one of the obstacles might be the batteries are always dead. So, in this case, we need to make sure to charge it before we head out. Once the obstacles are on the way we wanna make sure the habit itself isn’t the obstacle.
REWARD: If we can reward ourselves right after we do our desired habit or actions the chances of repeating it are gonna be way higher. Because new habits tend to reward latter and they might not usually feel so good at the moment whereas with bad habits they tend to feel really good at the moment but eventually we pay a prize for them. So by rewarding ourselves directly at the end of our new habit we reinforcing the behavior we want. Eventually, habits become intrinsically rewarding especially once the long term benefits start showing but until we get to that point I think having a little bit of external reward can really help to make sure we keep at it.