A lot of successful people are what they are today because of their habits they do, good ones we might add. Your habits determine, to a large degree, your behavior, and what you have accomplished, or look forward to achieving. As such, it is important to start developing good habits as early as you can, as success in life depends on it.
For many of us, the motivation to start developing good habits may start from the beginning of the New Year, after a talk with your doctor who implores you to change your eating ways, or from any encounter that leaves you questioning your moves up to that point in life. Bad habits set in rather fast, but developing a good habit takes quite a lot of time, and effort. However, with determination and resolve, you can truly develop a good habit into a character trait. How, you ask? Let’s find out.
1. Be clear on your purpose
Before companies open up shop for business, they start out by setting the goals and objectives they want to achieve. It is an absolute must that the business set out its objectives, otherwise it’s doomed to fail from the onset. The same principle should apply to you. Forming a good habit starts by being clear with your objective/purpose. Set the objective as a goal you want to accomplish in a given time period (we’ll talk about that later). Having a clear purpose of mission helps you be able to take the steps needed to accomplish it.
2. Have a time limit
What good would a goal be if it didn’t have a time limit for which it should be accomplished? Remember, you want to make the habit more than just a goal, you want it to be part of your personality. To make it part of your personality means you have to practice it consistently. This consistency must be quantified as a time period for the habit to set in. Conventional wisdom has it that three weeks is enough time for a good habit to set in. We say four to five weeks. Why? Because there is the initial conditioning phase, where the body still is making adjustments and you probably will forget to practice your good habit every day. So we account for that and tack on two more weeks for proper habit setting.
To make sure that it sticks, aim to make the habit a daily one. If you want to exercise more, commit to going to the gym every day for those four to five weeks. Going to the gym three times a week is not enough to make the habit stick. Activities you do every day are a lock to set in as habits.
3. Simplicity is key
Effecting a habit change is more likely to be successful if you start off in small simple bites. You can’t change your life completely in a single day. At first, you will get super motivated and want to do everything at once. Such motivation is admirable, but Rome wasn’t built in a day. If you wanted to start reading for three hours in a day, go at it for one hour or thirty minutes in the first few days, and build on from there. Once you have locked down an hour, move on to and a half, and so on. You will find at the end of the initial time period, reading for three hours is probably not enough.
4. Visualize success
This is an essential step to forming good habits. As you go through the daily rigors of making your life better, picture what you want the end result to be. This is a technique used by world class athletes and business professionals. As you picture your successful end goal, your body and mind train to perform the habit to match the expected output. It’s like purposely intending the outcome to be so, even if you are yet to get there. The visualization increases your confidence level, thus allowing you take on challenges that will come on your way to success.
Visualize yourself overcoming challenges to your journey. By doing this, you prepare mentally for any pitfalls along the way, and the visualizations of success will equip you to handle the challenges in real life. Trust us, challenges will be there.
5. Let people know
Do you have a small circle of friends/family/colleagues that you trust? Well, let them know of your intentions to start eating right, exercising daily, or whatever else you goal is. Telling them creates a level of accountability in your actions, and also means that there will be someone to pat you on the back should you succeed. There’s no better feeling than having loved ones show their pride in you for having accomplished something you set out to do.
6. Get rid of temptation
All your efforts to get better will probably be for nothing if you still keep around the things that tempt you back into the bad habits. If you are trying to quit smoking, get rid of all the cigarettes you have in your environment. If reading more is your goal, that television set in your bedroom isn’t helping at all. Having the temptations around you means you will struggle with keeping to the objectives in the first four or so weeks. To make it easier, get rid of anything that sets you back.
7. Find role models
It doesn’t have to be some international celebrity, business professional, or world class athlete. A role model could be the neighbor down the street who exercises regularly, or the guy at the office who gets everything done on time and is the model of hard work. The point here is to spend time with people who display the habits you want to develop yourself. By spending time with them, you hope to have some of their magic ‘rub off’ on you.
All in all, your habits are made out of conscious decisions. As such, remain in control at all times. It is only you who can make or break yourself. The good thing is, you have already made a conscious decision to read this, which means you are on your way to developing good habits. Now get out there and see it through!