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How to develop a good habit in 5 easy steps

Many of us want to become better humans. Eat healthier, exercise, learn a new skill, etc. However, building a good habit is not easy, especially if you want to stick with it for the long-term. How to develop a good habit that will stick with you for a lifetime?

Why are habits important

Being a better human seems intimidating. But what comes with it might sound like too much work. However, people should realize that it’s not complicated at all. All one needs is to develop a good habit. A habit is practically a shortcut that makes your life easier. Habits are the automatic things you do daily on autopilot, e.g. brushing your teeth. As automatic as brushing the teeth, you can make anything in your life. You only need to know how to do it.

How to develop a good habit step-by-step

When thinking about developing a good habit remember that relying on your willpower is not very sustainable. The human brain likes automation. How to build a sustainable habit step-by-step?

1. Create a strategy

Think of a habit you’d like to develop and create a strategy. Is your New Year’s resolution to live healthier? Make the strategy a rule in a form of when/then. For example: „When I leave work, I’ll go straight to the gym.“ Set an evening reminder. If you forgot to follow the new habit, do so after your alarm rings.

2. Start with an easy habit

The most important part of building a new habit is staying consistent. If you start a new habit it should be as easy that it's almost laughable. If you want to start exercising, start with 1 minute today. If you want to eat healthily, start with one healthy meal this week.

Remember: In the beginning, performance is irrelevant. It’s no problem to start small because you will have plenty of time to pick up the intensity.

It is also important to start with one new habit at a time. If you want to start living healthy, start with exercising, and once you make it a habit, start with a healthy diet. Always choose the easier one of the two first.

3. Visualize the enjoyment of fulfilled habit

Being able to see yourself enjoying the fruits of your hard work is the strongest motivator. Close your eyes and try to see and feel yourself thriving with your new habits. Imagine the new shape of your body. Write your vision in a journal, or create a poster of pictures.

Remember: Always focus on what you are getting, not what you are giving up. If you enjoy the lifestyle, habits will follow naturally.

4. Use a keyword to activate your habit

Use a well-chosen word that summarizes your vision to keep you from talking yourself out of exercising. Write it down, tape it to your laptop or make it your screensaver. When the situation will be out of control, take a deep breath, center yourself, and say your keyword to yourself. The word will activate your recall and put your vision into play.

 

                                            

5. Keep notes of your success

Research shows that creating habits can take from a few weeks to months. To be successful with your new habit, your brain needs consistent evidence of the achievability of your goal. Take 5 minutes before you go to bed to acknowledge your changes. Document the progress in a journal, and appreciate your effort.

Don’t be too harsh on yourself when developing a new habit

Slipping up on your habits doesn't make you a failure, we are all humans. Have a plan if you fail, and get back on track as quickly as possible. Make this your new mindset: I’ll never miss twice. It’s okay to miss one workout, but don’t miss two times in a row. What separates top performers from the rest is that they get back on track quickly.

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