A Simple Guide to Making (and Keeping!) New Habits
By Alisha Dhillon
I’ve been trying to improve my life recently. I’ve lived in mediocrity for a long time and I’ve grown complacent and depressed from it. In order to turn things around, I’ve been reading a ton of books because I’m determined to know and understand how to lead a more productive and fulfilling life. If this sentiment hits home, read on for a glimpse into what I’ve learned.
In my research, I like to pay special attention to what I call the game changers. I identify something as a game changer when it’s a trait or habit of multiple people whom I admire and respect. Here are the game changers that have been the most prevalent and I have thusly deemed to be the most crucial:
All three of these are habits. I’ve had them in my mind for a very long time but I’ve found myself unable to fully commit to any of them for sustained periods of time. That’s because I’ve lacked discipline. Now, I could play the blame game and say my parents and teachers didn’t show me how to live a disciplined life OR I can take responsibility for my own life and figure it out for myself. Fortunately, there is a plethora books and audio materials that have been created to teach discipline and stronger mindsets to those willing to learn and try. As I mentioned, I’ve been devouring these materials lately and I am in dire need to share what I’ve learned!
First and foremost I’d like to begin with a guide to creating (and keeping!) habits that will lead to a more fulfilled life.
Start Small: The goal here is to turn these new tasks into lifelong habits. So if you want to be fit, start hitting the gym or doing at-home workout videos 2-3 times a week. Start with a small goal so you’re certain to be consistent and as these small tasks become habits you can increase the consistency/duration of the tasks to expedite your progress.
Write things down: This may be the most important one. Did you know that only 3% of the adults write their goals down on paper? Staggering, right? When you write down your goals, you’re forced to become accountable to yourself and this jumpstarts your results! Having goals in your head is a good start but, writing things down is imperative to true change.
Create a chain you won’t want to break: Having an agenda or calendar is a must for this one. When you complete the task you’ve decided to make into a habit, put an X or check mark on the date. As you continue to complete the task each day, you’ll see a row of Xs on your calendar and it will motivate you to keep going so you don’t have to break the chain!
Connect your habits to your long term goals: This one is key. If you know that your habits are getting you closer to your dreams, you’ll be more motivated to stay on track. Sit down and write out your goals and habits and connect the two. It reminds you of why you’re making these changes, In The Compound Effect, Darren Hardy refers to this as your “why power”. If you harness your “why power”, your results are guaranteed! (I implore you to read The Compound Effect if you can make the time. It’s a true gamechanger.)
So there you go, a few easy steps to get you started on your journey to a new, improved you! Remember, healthy habits make happy people!
P.S. This is just the first part to what will likely become a large series as I continue to learn more effective ways to increase productivity and happiness so stay tuned!