There is always a long list of things you know you should be doing regularly but for some reasons, just don’t do them. The solution is building habits but you often find it hard to build good habits especially when you want to stick with them for the long-term.
Following are the behavioral changes that are so simple that you can easily perform them on regular basis. Let’s break them down into simple steps:
Start with something you can’t say no to:
It is very important to stay consistent when sticking to a habit. It should not be something that seems really hard to work on, instead, committing to do that particular thing for the minimum time that you can’t say no to. For example, if you want to exercise, start with one minute. If you want to get into the habit of writing then begin with writing three sentences every day. There is never any hard and fast rule to start with something bigger. It is relatively easier to start with smaller steps and to pick up the intensity later.
Understand what stops you from doing it:
When you find it hard to develop a habit, you must understand what is holding you back. For example, if you don’t want to exercise then you should know the exact reason you don’t like it. You must know the real barriers that stop you from working out. Once you know, figure out how you can make exercising easier. Stick to exercises that you enjoy and incorporate dancing and playing your favorite games to keep yourself active.
Not to judge yourself when you make a mistake:
The developing of good habits seems difficult because when you fail, you get disappointed. You consider yourself incapable of sticking to your habits thinking you are not good enough. You must realize that success is not achieved without failures. Failures are a way that directs your path and make you learn more. So, do not get discouraged when you fail to stick to your habits. Instead, develop a plan to get back on track as quickly as you can.
The cardinal rule of developing and sticking to good habits is to reward yourself for everything you do well. Because what is rewarded is repeated but what is immediately punished, is always avoided. So, whenever you complete a new habit, reward yourself and it will help you a lot in staying on the track. When you will give your every effort a satisfying ending you will be more likely to do it.
Create an environment:
Engaging in good habits seems harder because the environment does not help you much to continue. Therefore, the central idea is to create an environment where doing the right thing is as easy as possible. Find ways to reduce the friction associated with good habits and increase the friction that is associated with the bad ones. For example, if you want to start flossing, commit to flossing just one tooth. It may seem ridiculous but there is no reason for you to not do it. The time and effort you will spend on flossing only one tooth will help you to increase the efforts later on.