Habits can be incredibly useful tools but also very very difficult to nail down and maintain. Not only are habits difficult to build, they can also be even more difficult to maintain. Regardless, they are incredibly useful and necessary to enhance and maintain your high levels of productivity. This article walks you through what habits are, how to build them, how to maintain them, and a massive list of habit ideas!
What Are Habits?
Habits are activities that are done regularly or consistently. While I am going to be talking about useful or healthy habits in this article, it is important to note that not all habits are useful or healthy. Many of us have very unhealthy or not useful habits such as biting your nails, avoiding doing dishes, ignoring your physical ailments, etc. While useless or unhealthy habits are not the focus of this article, I wanted to not it because many people attempt build good habits to replace bad habits. This practice is incredibly useful and actually a more effective method in breaking bad habits.
How to Build A Habit
The most important first step in building a habit is to understand what your goal is. Habits are only useful if they have a purpose or an intended end-goal. So, before you can create your habit, create a smart goal! Unfamiliar with SMART goals? I have a whole other article that breaks down these goals, check this article out before you continue. Learn more about SMART goals.
For am example, let’s say your overall goal is to lose 20 pounds in 6 months by exercising more and eating better. That is a great SMART goal and identifies some habits that you need to build. First you need to start exercising more (habit #1) and then you need to eat better (habit #2). Two habits can be a lot for one person at one time, so its important that you start simple. Build one habit at a time before moving an to another habit.
Further, it is important to keep a habit simple–make it easy to do (and to remember to do). For example, if you’re trying to floss each night, keep the floss next to your toothpaste so you see it each time you brush your teeth. If a habit is too complex, it will be difficult to keep up with it. So, don’t be afraid to take small steps to build up to a more complex version of a habit.
So you have some of the rules of habit building, but, how do you actually build the habit? Now that you have a concept of some of the ideas, build on them. A good habit incorporates the following:
- A goal in mind
- Stick with it
The Best Times to Start A New Habit
You can start a habit at any point in time; however, there are certain times that are better. Some good times to start building a new habit are at the beginning of a month or week (the fresh start effect) or at a big life shift (like moving). These are good times to start building a new habit because you have a fresh supply of new triggers that can remind you to do the habit. Without older triggers and possibly older habits holding you down, you can easily create new habits with positive triggers.
How to Build & Maintain Habits
Now that you have started to build a habit, how do you continue to maintain it? The best ways to maintain a habit include sticking with it, rewarding yourself, being consistent, keeping track of your progress, and having an accountability partner.
Sticking with it & Being Consistent
Sticking to your goals and being consistent in maintaining your habits are essential practices in maintaining a habit. The point of a habit is to do the task consistently. So, if you fail to be consistent, then you will likely lose your habit entirely. Likewise, if you do not stick to your habit before it becomes habitual, then it will not solidify as a habit. So, to effectively maintain any habit you wish to have, you must be consistent and persistent.
Keeping Track of Your Progress
Keeping track of your habit progress is a great way to maintain your goal. Create a log of the times you’ve completed your goal, tips that work for you, things that you’d consider a barrier to success, and maybe even plan for rewarding yourself at certain intervals.
Have An Accountability Partner
Another great means of maintaining a good habit is to have an accountability partner. An accountability partner is someone who can help check in with you regarding your habit, remind you of your goal, go along with your for some of your tasks, and help keep your morale up. They can help you stick to your daily habit by providing both the trigger and reminder to do the habit, as well as the reward.
If you do not have someone in your life who you can use as an accountability partner, there is a great app and online source for you to use. Supporti is an accountability partner mobile app where you can get a buddy to help remind you of your habit and goals —by messaging you each day– as well as your reward –by being able to tell someone that you did it and having them be excited for you.
Supporti pairs people together one-on-one as online accountability partners to support each other in pursuit of their goals. When performed consistently over time, little actions add up to big changes. Supporti is designed for people who need a nudge and some accountability to stay motivated to do the little things on a daily basis.
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Now that you know how to build habits, its time to plan for your habit. If you are stuck, or not sure what kind of habits you’d like to create then you can refer to this list! Is this list not detailed enough? We offer a free workbook for habit-building that includes a detailed list of every habit idea you can think of! Sign-up to get access to this free workbook HERE.
- Learn something new
- Read the news
- Practice a foreign language
- Track your spending
- Walk 10,000 steps
- Drink 64 oz of water
- Avoid cigarettes
- Wake up early
- Do a random act of kindness
- Take a risk
- Laugh out loud
What habits are you trying to build and what is your plan? How will you be held accountable? Get a FREE habit building worksheet to help you build amazing habits HERE.