Our habits have the unique ability to change our lives over time. They can set us up for success or failure, depending on the habits we create for ourselves. We all know this, yet some struggle with setting new positive habits while others seem to knock the ball out of the park.
Why is this?
Why, in spite of good intentions, do so many fail at forming success habits that will change their lives?
According to Charles Duhigg, the author of The Power of Habit, and an expert on behavioral psychology suggests that most people fail to adopt new habits because they do not understand the structure of habits. The structure of habits contain the following components:
- The Trigger: This is something in your internal or external environment that signals the new habit. For example, you can trigger a new exercise habit by setting your gym clothes out the night before.
- The Action: This is where you take action.
- The Reward: This is the vital part of the habit loop that can be easily missed and can lead to sabotage. Your brain seeks rewards.
Those who win at habit creation, either know this intrinsically or have learned how to do this.
Now that you understand the structure of habit formation, here are 7 tips that will support your effort to create lifechanging habits:
- Make a Plan: Success habits don’t just happen by accident. They have a structure and are created by design. Creating a plan will increase the chances of successfully creating a new habit. Think of the plan like a roadmap. Include your starting point, the final goal, and all the steps along the way. Don’t forget to identify potential stumbling blocks and how you will overcome them.
- Start Small: “Don’t despise small beginnings.” The truth is that most of us do. We want to run out on the field and knock the ball out of the park on day one. Life usually doesn’t work like that. The power of baby steps to establish new habits is powerful. Small behavioral changes require less motivation and are easier to return to. When a new habit is easy in the beginning, the brain gets a quick reward and is more willing to do it again and again. This works for most people. Building habits slowly is a foundation for lasting success.
- Make a Commitment to Yourself: You must be committed to your goal of creating a new habit. If you are not committed, then the chances of succeeding in attaining it reduces dramatically. It is important to believe that you will create your new habit and to be able to see yourself doing it. Write down a positive statement that affirms you have created your new habit. For example, if you want to create the successful habit of waking early then you could write, ‘I wake at 5.00 am every day refreshed and ready to start my day. I use my extra time to run for 20 minutes and to eat a healthy breakfast. I spend 30 minutes reading a motivational book because I know that it helps me improve my knowledge and will inspire me. Before I start my work I make sure that I plan my day and make sure that I know which tasks are important for helping me to achieve my goal.’
- Practice Self Awareness: Self-knowledge is crucial to creating new habits, as well as eliminating old ones. Understand your strengths and weaknesses. It is important to know where you are right now, where you want to be and what needs to change. Knowing yourself can help you to create a growth mindset. This ensures that you understand that action is important as by taking action you create change which leads to success.
- Practice Daily: New research shows that establishing a new habit can take a minimum of up to 66 days before it becomes an established routine. This means that you need to ensure that you build time into every day to practice your new habit. Knowing what might interfere in your daily habit practice ensures that you can put in place plans to overcome it.
- Foster a Positive Mindset: A positive mindset is an important component of your commitment. If you are committed to creating the new success habit and understand why it is important to your overall plans and goals then you will be more able to overcome stumbling blocks and ensure that you practice your new habit every day until it becomes a routine part of your life.
- Reward Yourself!!: The process of creating positive habits can be challenging. When you set out to create a new success habit you have your plan for how you are going to achieve it and what your life will look like once that happens. Don’t forget to build in a reward. Make it something that you really want and value. It doesn’t have to be big but it does have to be important to you. By planning a reward when you have created your new habit you will be more emotionally invested in creating the habit. Write down your reward or get a picture of it and put it somewhere where you will see it every day. This will reinforce the desire to succeed and strengthen your motivation to achieve your goal.
By using the seven tips above you will be creating a positive mental attitude towards creating a new success habit. Don’t try to create too many new habits at once. That is a surefire way to sabotage your success. It is simpler and more realistic to create one new habit at a time.
Remember to always, love yourself and be gentle. Change can be challenging in the best of times. Deciding to live your life at another level, takes courage and commitment. I for one am very proud of you!
You got this!!
Be well + prosper,