Your life is essentially the sum of your habits. What you repeatedly do ultimately form the person you are. If you are keen on self-development, then you have to mind your habits.
Habits account for about 40 percent of our behaviors on any given day. Understanding how to build new habits (and how your current ones work) is essential for making progress in your health, your happiness, and your life in general. Be mindful of your daily habits and let this be an everyday exercise. Remember, consistency is critical if you want to make a habit stick.
It is not easy to change our habits, let alone develop new ones. However, I have put below some tips to help you with forming new habits.
7 steps to new habit development
Step 1. Start with an incredibly small habit
Rather than eating the whole elephant at once start by cutting it into smaller portions that you can consume per day. Break the habit into small chunks every day. Make it easy enough that you can get it done without motivation. Don’t try to completely change your life in one day. For example, if you want to study two hours a day, first make the habit to go for thirty minutes and build on that.
Take baby steps and create a low level of commitment. This makes it impossible to fail because when you make a low level of commitment, you are likely to get started because it’s simple. Huge commitments will overwhelm you and cause you to procrastinate. If you attempt to do much too soon, you are setting yourself up for failure.
Step 2. Increase your habit in very small ways
“Success is a few simple disciplines, practiced every day; while failure is simply a few errors in judgment, repeated every day.” ~Jim Rohn
Start small and gradually improve. Along the way, your willpower and motivation will increase, which will make it easier to stick to your habit for good. Compound your new habit even by 1%, in the end, you will reach your milestone
Step 3. When you slip, get back on track quickly
“The best way to improve your self-control is to see how and why you lose control.” ~Kelly McGonigal
Top performers make mistakes, commit errors, and get off track just like everyone else. The difference is that they get back on track as quickly as possible. Missing your habit once has no measurable impact on your long-term progress. Rather than trying to be perfect, abandon your all-or-nothing mentality.
When you slip, bounce back quickly and get back on track. You just need to be consistent, not perfect. Focus on building the identity of someone who never misses a habit twice.
Step 4. Be patient. Stick to a pace you can sustain
Learning to be patient is perhaps the most critical skill of habit formation. You can make incredible progress if you are consistent and patient.
If you want to lose weight, no matter how much you exercise in a day, it won’t happen overnight. If you want to build your business, it won’t happen overnight. Have patience with yourself and the process.
Step 5. Link your new habit to an old habit
Instill your habit into your life by linking it to an already established habit. For example, after I do my morning prayer then I meditate for 5 minutes. Link it to something you consistently do and before you realize it, you will be consistent in the new habit and it becomes part of you.
Step 6. Be Consistent
Consistency is the key to developing habits. The more you are consistent, the more it will stick. Have you ever tried waking up at the same time every day? You may start by setting an alarm but sooner or later, your body will adjust and you will even wake up without the alarm. That’s the same approach your body adjusts to forming new habits.
Step 7. Get an accountability partner
Sometimes no matter how disciplined we try to be, it’s just hard for us to be consistent without having to be accountable to someone. An accountability partner can hold you accountable to your new habit and even motivate you when you feel like giving up.
Step 7. Reward yourself
This is my favorite part, for any milestones reached, reward yourself. Build a reward system for your habit development. This can help you stick to your routine. Rewarding yourself reinforces the desirable behavior.
Remember, as Aristotle said “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.”
For habit, development consistency is better than intensity
I would love to hear from you on how you develop habits so please, leave a comment for me below, and if you found this useful, kindly subscribe to the blog and share it with others.