How to Form New Habits That Matter

Just like our daily routine, habits are engraved into our schedule consciously and unconsciously. We try to develop new habits to improve the quality of life. But how do you exactly achieve that?

Truth of the matter is, no one is fundamentally excellent or mediocre. Where you are in your life is a result of your actions – or habits. Developing habits don’t guarantee success. but it’s a start of greatly changing our life. With basic behavioral change, we can go from mediocrity to excellence – just by changing our habits.

Success is only defined by us – and whether our habits are impacting us positively or negatively.

For a new habit to stick, we need a really good reason why we are embarking on this journey of self-improvement. Having tons of to-do task on our list isn’t helpful when we feel too exhausted to continue the same task later. We want to develop habits that stays with us for a long period of time. It’s best to stick with habits that impact our health and livelihood rather than our superficial side (materialistic goods).

Start by asking questions, for example, “I want to read 2 books a month because of x and y reason.” One reason could be that you want to use your newly founded knowledge on your career. Or, you’re reading so that you can improve your creative writing skills. Whichever it is, putting a good reason behind your habits will help you to prioritize on habits that matter to you the most.

On a personal note, I’ve tried to form a million habits at the same time. Not suprisingly, none of those habits pull through. We all strive to improve ourselves, whether it be reading more, writing more, or exercising more — you name it. If you’re the same, you probably know this doesn’t work very well. Usually, when you do too many things at the same time, you may feel overwhelmed.

One of the reasons is that we try to do so many things at the same time. We think we can achieve a lot in a short period but it’s a common delusion. If you choose one habit and truly commit to it, you can achieve a lot within a time frame.

Initially, when someone wants to self improve, we set the bar very high. But we often overlook the responsibilities and patience that make it happen. For example, building a career requires effort. In fact, everything in life that’s remotely valuable requires a lot of work to achieve.

So before we do something big, let’s start small.

Focus on small steps. Build a strong foundation. Without that foundation, we can never achieve anything meaningful.

  • Want to run daily? Start by walking.
  • Want to write a book? Write one sentence.
  • Want to read two books a week? Read a page a day.
  • Want to improve your skin complexion? Start with a skin routine.

Finally, let’s take a look at the 3 R’s in action that you can apply in your routine:

Reminder. You receive an alert from your phone to start your daily exercise routine. You prepare and head out to the gym.

Routine. You start the workout with a stretch, then the treadmill, and the the dumbbells.

Reward.  Your reward is the benefit you received from doing the behavior. In this example, you drink water or take breaks. Better yet, you socialize with other gym members.

Rewarding yourself after a habit encourages you that you made it! That’s why it’s important to always celebrate and applaud yourself after successfully practicing your habit.

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