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The 5 steps to build new successful habits

Updated: Aug 8, 2019

What are habits? In this article, you will learn a 5 steps method to setting new and long lasting habits.

You’ll never change your life until you change something you do daily. The secret of your success is found in your daily routine.” - John C. Maxwell

Why habits are so important? 

Habits appear because the brain is looking for ways to save energy. Doing something automatic uses far less brain energy than doing something new. Actually, most of our daily actions are habits. Think about driving or taking the bus to your office. You arrive at your destination without really noticing what you have done. You were on autopilot.

A habit is a behavior that is repeated regularly and tends to occur subconsciously.

A good habit is a behavior that is beneficial to one’s physical or mental health, often linked to a high level of discipline and self-control. 

The secret formula to building the new and long lasting habits you want:

  • Make your new habit crystal clear: You need to define what you want to do, what you will do and when you will do it. The more specific, the better. For example, you will go to the Gym twice a week, every Tuesday and Friday from 7:30 to 8:30 and you will do cardio on Tuesday and strength training on Friday.

  • Anticipate obstacles: Identify any obstacles which might get in the way of achieving your commitments. Think about how you will overcome them. For example, you want to meditate every morning, but you have to take care of your kid's breakfast. So you may choose either to wake up 30 minutes earlier or to prepare the breakfast before you go to bed in order to free up your morning time.

  • Make it simple: Don’t try to change everything in your life in one day. Define very small steps that you are sure to achieve. Take the example of jogging. Even if you want to run a marathon, you will not start running 10km from day one. Start by running 15 minutes and then increase the length or duration every couple of days.

  • Remind yourself: If the habit you want to create has to be done at a certain time in the day, set up an alarm to remind you.

  • Keep track of your progress: This is a key success factor. Keeping track of your progress will help you stay motivated and disciplined. If you skip a day, having a record of your progress will also help you get back on track. Many apps are available. They will help you set up the habit you want to follow, help you to confirm (that you have done it and reward you with progress bars, badges, stickers or level ups. 'Way of Life' or 'Loop' are some popular apps you should try. Alternatively, you can also do it the old way with a handwritten bullet journal.

Bullet Journal

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Reference for further reading:

  • The 7 habits of highly effective people from Stephen R Covey: The bible on the habit topic which is so popular that he became the name of a common training

  • The morning miracle from Hal Elrod: The one who changed my life. Hal recommends to wake up 1 hour earlier to execute daily routines that he calls SAVERS

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