Most things in our lives come down to habit.
Did you brush your teeth this morning? You don’t even think about it or fight with yourself about doing it at this point. It’s a habit so deeply engrained in your morning and evening that you just do it.
Don’t you wish more challenging things like exercise and saving money could be that easy?
Luckily, they can be. But we need to develop them as habits.
I know that can be easier said than done. Over the past few years I’ve really focused on habits I wanted to build. Some have stuck around and become parts of my regular rhythm and others have faded away.
Through this continual practice, I’ve learned some methods that work for me and might work for you too when it comes to building the days and life you want. Cultivating even just one incredible habit can change the course of your entire day.
1. Set your intentions + write them down.
This one has been the most helpful for me when it comes to creating change and cultivating habits. At the beginning of the year I set goals and then each month I determine monthly/weekly/daily action items that support those goals. You’ve seen this play out each month in my PowerSheets update posts (check those out here).
Setting my intentions helps me answer the question “why?” when I’m choosing habits I want to implement in my life. It also provides guidance if I’m thinking about quitting a habit that isn’t working. Some habits that sound awesome (like waking up at 5am to get a workout in before your day starts) may not work for your life or this season in particular and that’s okay.
I’m a huge proponent of writing things down. It moves things out of my head and gives me judgement free accountability. I’m more likely to accomplish something if it’s written down because it’s then at the forefront of my mind.
2. Link the new habit to an already formed habit.
This one is a classic and that’s because it really works. It’s hard to uproot and change everything at once, so why not tie something new to something already established? There is also beauty in that this method can work for so many different types of habits.
Maybe you want to create the habit of taking your vitamins daily, but you’re terrible at remembering to do so. You drink coffee every morning without fail. Try putting your vitamins right next to or in front of your coffee maker. You’re linking the new vitamins to the already established habit of coffee. The coffee becomes a trigger for the vitamins and it won’t be long before this is a natural pair for you.
3. Make it easier to follow through.
Sometimes there’s road blocks to cultivating our habits, but we may not notice until we take a closer look. If you’re struggling with a habit, is there anything that’s making it more difficult that you could change?
I used to eat out for lunch during my workday – it was a social thing with coworkers, but it was also easier than packing my lunch in the morning. Often times I’d be running late and didn’t have time to make something. Instead I’d make my lunch the night before and have it packed ready to go in the fridge. In the morning all I’d have to do was grab my lunchbox and leave. This eliminated a major roadblock. Preparing my food the night before is a habit I still practice and makes my mornings peaceful.
4. Consider a reward or celebration.
Some new habits may call for an extra dose of fun to push through. There isn’t anything wrong with dangling a little carrot in front of you to get yourself motivated and moving. Sometimes all you need to do is start.
One of my favorite examples of this is a new workout outfit to help get myself into the habit of exercising. You know yourself best, so think about something that’ll be a little treat to propel you forward. Just be careful that treat doesn’t totally derail your new desired habit.
5. Invite an accountability buddy to join you.
Is there someone in your life that’s in the same boat as you?
Is there someone in your life that already has that habit down and does it well?
Both of these people are awesome potential accountability buddies. Depending on the size of the habit, it might be helpful to have both. We were made to be in community because we can support and guide one another. It’s an honor when someone asks for my insight in an area I feel strongly in.
If I’m ever dragging my feet about something I really want to do, someone else probably is too. And it’ll be a lot more fun to tackle together.
We’re all different and handle things in different ways. Along the same line, different types of habits may require a different method. That’s a lot of differences! Take what works for you and run with it. Also don’t be afraid to try something else if it resonates with you.
You are one decision away from a totally different life.Mark Batterson
What tips or tricks can you share about habits?
What habit has made a difference in your days?
Let us know in the comments below ❤