How to build better habits (That will actually stick)
Have you ever tried to build a new habit but by week 2, you’ve almost forgotten this habit existed? You’re not alone. We’ve got some impressive tips on how you can build better habits that you’ll actually stick to.
Building habits is sometimes akin to your “New Year’s Resolutions”. It sounds good in theory but in the back of your mind, you already know that these new habits probably won’t last.
It doesn’t have to be that way though. We’ve used some of the principles from Atomic Habits by James Clear to identify the best possible strategy for building better habits.
Why building healthy habits is important
Good habits are essential to a healthy life. They can make it easier for you to achieve and maintain a great and healthy lifestyle.
Habits are often confused with goals or even a routine. Goals are aspirations you have that you’d like to achieve in a certain amount of time. Habits are things you do every day that contribute to the life you want to live.
The difference between a habit and a routine is your awareness. Habits and routines are both repeated actions but habits run on autopilot while routines are intentional.
Routines need active practice or they’ll eventually die out but habits occur with very little thought.
Think about it like this, if you want to start journaling every morning, you have to intentionally make the effort to do it but if you have started the habit of smoking, lighting a cigarette first thing in the morning is done on autopilot.
A habit then becomes a routine that is done frequently and automatically. Small changes make a massive difference over some time.
This is why you need to create good habits rather than fall into the ease of unhealthy habits.
6 valuable principles from Atomic Habits
Atomic Habits shares some invaluable tips on how to create habits that are sustainable and that will serve you best in the long run. We picked out 5 of the top principles from this book.
1. Don’t focus on goals, focus on systems of change
Rather than solely focusing on the goals you want to achieve, think about HOW you’re going to achieve them.
Think about it, many successful people have the same goals. Olympic runners all want to win the same race but only one can actually win. And it’s about what that one runner had to do before that moment to have the ability to win.
The same can be applied to your life. Think about the goals you have but focus on what you’re going to do every single day to reach those goals. If you don’t have the correct systems in place, you will never achieve what you set out to.
2. Motivation is overrated. Environment often matters more
You aren’t always going to be motivated to do a particular thing. But if you create an environment that encourages productivity and has visual cues that trigger healthy habits, you’re more likely to be successful.
You should also do your best to avoid negative temptations within your space and create specific areas for specific purposes so that you’re able to get the most out of your habits.
3. Join a group
We are a specifies that loves to feel connected and seek approval from like-minded individuals.
A great thing you can do is join a group that exhibits the same traits that you want to emulate. People do well when surrounded by successful individuals that we wish to be like.
Pro tip: Habit tracking (you can use a calendar or a journal) and accountability partners are wonderful ways to create good habits or stop unhealthy ones.
4. Focus on repetitions
To master something, you simply need to START.
Aiming for perfection right out the gate almost always leads to failure. Rather focus on repetitive behaviours. You’ll notice that the more you do something, the better you become.
Focus on making your habits quick and easy in the beginning. Don’t do it for longer than 2 minutes. Once you have gotten into the habit (see what we did there?) of doing the action, you can then focus on optimising it or increasing the time you spend on it.
5. Make good choices automatic and unhealthy choices difficult
The best way to create healthy habits is to make them as simple and easy as possible so that you don’t even have to think about it.
So for example, buy a large water bottle and set reminders to drink water every few hours. Remove the TV from your bedroom so you don’t stay up all night watching your favourite series.
Setting reminders and making healthy things easy for you is the best way to form habits. Making unhealthy things difficult for you to do is the best way to break bad habits.
6. Embrace feeling bored
Habits that become everyday routines can start to feel mundane and boring. Don’t fall into the trap of changing things up!
Welcome the feelings of boredom and stick to something even when you’re not in the mood to do it. The greatest threat to success is often thought to be failure but it’s actually boredom.
Go back to number 1 and remember that it is the journey and not the destination that you need to focus on!
Remember that a habit is created over a period of time and your main focus should be never giving up!