When you are working on achieving your goals, one of the best things you can do is create habits that work to further that goal. Most of the time this means creating new habits, but sometimes it’s easier to re-tool your existing habits and put them to work for you.
Creating or reworking a habit doesn’t have to be as hard as people make it out to be. Yes, it takes time and repetitive action to get the habit to stick. The general rule of thumb is that it takes about twenty-one days for an action to become habit.
The mistake most often made is to try and do a huge change all at once instead of taking small actions and making sure they stick before adding the next piece. When you take a baby-step approach to working with your habits, it can be easier than you might think to create habits that work for you instead of against you.
Four Steps To Put Your Habits To Work For You
Step 1: Know which habits you need
Before you re-tool your habits or create new ones, you will need to figure out which habits will help you achieve your goals. For every goal you set, there are habits that can go a long way toward ensuring your success.
Here are a few things to consider when thinking about which habits to work on:
- Look for daily habits. Habits you practice each day are much easier to put into place and keep than those that are less frequent.
- Keep it simple. The more complex the task, the less likely you are to stick with it. If you really do need to implement a complex habit, start with a simpler version and then add more complexity later.
- Be specific. It’s not enough to just specify what you’re going to do; include the how, when, and where as well. Time is always critical when creating a new habit. Be sure to specify a precise period of time in which you wish to implement the new actions.
Step 2: Prepare for challenges
When it comes to changing habits, there are usually a few challenges along the way. Your task is to figure out what these challenges might be, so that you can deal with them as early in the process as possible.
For example, if you’ve decided that you’re going to eat a healthy breakfast every day, get rid of all the breakfast junk food in your pantry and freezer. That junk food is an obstacle to successfully implementing your habit.
The obstacle might be time interference. Maybe your partner doesn’t usually leave you alone for 30 minutes every night so you can meditate, write, read, or whatever it is you want to do towards your goal. Simply let them know ahead of time that you need be undisturbed during this time.
Step 3: Develop new habits to support your existing ones
Once you know which habits you will need to focus on to achieve your goals, start looking for ways to create new habits that will reinforce these core ones.
For example, if one of your new habits is to make it to the gym every morning by 6:00 am, you can develop several supporting habits to help you establish this habit, such as:
- Get out of bed by 5:15 am.
- In order to get up at 5:15 am each day, you might need an additional habit of always being in bed by 10:00 pm.
- Another supporting habit might be to pack your gym bag the night before.
They may not seem like much on their own, but supporting habits like these are important to your overall success.
Step 4: Enjoy Your Success
Use these tips to put your habits to work for you, and you will be well on your way to achieving your goals. When an action becomes a habit, and you do it automatically, without having stop and think about it you are one step closer to success. Make sure you take time to acknowledge and enjoy your success, and then move on to the next goal and the next habit!