Habits create who we are. We live by them and die by them as well. If you haven’t figured it out yet habits are extremely important. But reading a how to guide on building habits is easier than actually implementing what you read. So before you read on, if you’re actually interested in changing your life and becoming the person YOU want to be, know that it’s hard work and that with all great things the hard part is to get the boulder moving. Once it’s moving there’s no stopping it.
Set Your Goals:
Without goals we might as well be blindfolded and made to run through the jungle. Eventually you’ll make it, maybe, but not before falling thousands of times, running into trees, getting bit by various animals and maybe losing a limb or two. If you define your goals before you start, that’s more like going into the jungle with a guide, the correct gear, food and so forth. Trekking through a jungle is still hard work but at least you know that you’re prepared.
Write Stuff Down:
People forget. It’s natural and happens all the time. The main reason why people don’t follow through with building a habit is simply that they forget to do the things they need to. With the hustle bustle of daily life, especially in a city, you’re going to be overwhelmed by all of the things that happen all around you and your new habit will often slip away from your mind. If you write down what it is that you’re going to accomplish you can put it on your fridge, next to your alarm, in your car, on your hand, or anywhere that you are likely to see it to remind you.
This goes hand in hand with writing stuff down. There’s nothing better than being on the path to building a habit and then realizing three weeks later that you haven’t missed any days at all. By tracking your progress you can see how far you’ve come. Once you reach a certain milestone you will be less likely to miss a day because you want to keep your streak and you know that you are so close. Accomplishing this is easy. You can get yourself a calendar or even make your own with some markers. Again, put it somewhere you can see it so you actually remember to check the days off and are constantly reminded of your goal.
Do it With Friends:
What better way to build a habit than with the people you love? Assuming you surround yourself with people that have similar interests as you this is a great way to help you. Get your friends and family in on your habit as well. It’s like working out with a gym partner, if you just go by yourself you have no one to laugh with, motivate, or share new things that you learn. If you include your friends, they motivate you to get things done and vice versa. It’s a win-win situation.
Patience and Consistency is Key:
It takes time to recreate yourself. It took a lifetime for you to get where you are now so don’t be surprised if it takes a few months, or longer, to make yourself who you want to be. Be patient and consistent with the building of your new habit. Remember that slow and steady wins the race. That being said, unless you have the discipline of a monk or ninja, don’t try to take everything on at the same time. Start by building an easy habit, then scale up. Get yourself used to these tips and any other things you learn along the way that work for you.
Don’t get me wrong, I love new years, they really do feel like you get a fresh start to your life. That being said, I also dislike new years because they give people a reason to slack to the extreme before they change their life, if they even end up changing anything at all. Why not just start now and begin the new year with the boulder already rolling? Wouldn’t you think that the good vibes of the new year would impulse your already consistent habit building? Don’t wait until next month, next year etc. If you want, start on a Monday, yea everyone hates Mondays, but they are actually an amazing day. Mondays are a fresh start to a fresh week. If you’re looking for a fresh start, start at the beginning of a week but don’t let a fresh start be a reason to destroy yourself before you change. It will only make things harder.
Set Milestones and Celebrate:
If you plan on building a habit, know that it takes a while. You should set milestones for yourself, then celebrate once you reach them. DON’T celebrate by doing anything that will get you out of your habit. For example: if you’re trying to wake up with the sunrise everyday and you reach a month in a row of doing so, once celebration day is upon you don’t sleep in the next day. All it takes is one day to get you out of the flow. Once the habit is built you can afford to miss a day or two but even then it’s a lot easier to break a newly formed habit than to make one.
Start in the Mornings:
Mornings are that one time of day where you are fresh. It may not feel like it, but if you wake up with time to spare, you feel as if there isn’t a care in the world. I wanted to get into the habit of stretching at least once a day. I tried scheduling it throughout different times of the day and always found that I had something else to do and couldn’t, or forgot to, stretch. I decided to wake up 40 minutes earlier than I used so the first thing I did when I got out of bed was drink some water and stretch. This worked for me, if you’re not a morning person it may not work for you. Depending on the habit you want to build you may only need to wake up 5-10 minutes earlier than you are used to.
A lot of times people don’t follow through with habit building because “They don’t have the time” or because “something happened” or “this” or “that”. Be responsible for your actions. Know that once you build this habit the flow of your life will improve. Start a money jar or have consequences for not fulfilling your daily “to do.” That being said don’t be too hard on yourself either. Building a habit is tough work and some days are easier than others.
Share it with the World:
A while ago we started a 30 day sunrise challenge. I wanted to get back into the flow of waking up early and did so by setting this challenge. For a month straight I would have to wake up before the sunrise, head to the beach and take a picture. To keep me on track I shared it on our blog as well as on our Facebook page. Now the world was watching. If I failed, I failed in front of everyone I knew and this helped keep me on track. If you don’t have a social media platform, share it with your family and friends. You’ll even get some support if you’re surrounding yourself with the correct people.
I hope this helps anyone looking to recreate themselves or simply changes little things here and there that they don’t like.
Do you have any tips from personal experience that you would like to share?
What habit will you be starting now?
If you’ve applied these tips, did they help?