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13 Things to Avoid When Changing Habits : zen habits

“Motivation is what gets you started. Habit is what keeps you going.”

Jim Ryun

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13 Things to Avoid When Changing Habits : zen habits

13 Things to Avoid When Changing Habits : zen habits

https://zenhabits.net/13-things-to-avoid-when-changing-habits/

zenhabits.net

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Key Ideas

“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence then, is not an act, but a habit.” 

“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence then, is not an act, but a habit.” 

“Motivation is what gets you started. Habit is what keeps you going.”

“Motivation is what gets you started. Habit is what keeps you going.”

Taking On Two Or More Habits At Once

No matter how much enthusiasm we have for the goals, taking on even just two habits at once is setting ourselves up for failure, because greatly increases the difficulty of sticking to it.

Pick only one habit to change and devote all of your energy to that, and once it’s on autopilot, move on to the next one.

Not Committing a Plan To Paper

Just telling ourselves that we’re going to change isn’t enough. You have to write down your goal and stick to it.

Write a start and an end date (30 days is a good time frame). Write down exactly what you’re going to do, how you’re going to be accountable, your rewards and the obstacles and triggers. 

Being Half-Committed

We often half-commit to change for a while, relapse, feel guilty about it and then start all over again. That often happens when we are not fully committed.

To commit fully, tell everyone about it and put reminders you're doing it everywhere.

Not Having Support

There will be times when you falter, and for those moments it’s ideal to have multiple supporters. Best yet, join a support group of people doing the same thing.

Make the commitment to your support group, and promise and ask for their help when you hit rough spots. Put this in your written plan.

Not Thinking Through Your Motivation

Before you start your habit change, think through your motivations. Why are you doing this? What will keep you going when you forget your reasons?

Public commitment is a big motivator, but you should have internal ones too. Write these down in your plan.

Not Realizing The Obstacles

Not being cognizant of the obstacles makes you more likely to relapse and give up when you hit them. But having a plan to deal with the obstacles when the urges hit make you less likely to relapse.

Research and think it through to anticipate your obstacles. Then make a plan for what you’ll do when you face the obstacles.

7. Not Logging Your Progress

The benefits of keeping a log are:
  1. It reminds you to be consistent.
  2. It keeps you aware of what you’re doing.
  3. It motivates you, as you want to write good things in it.
  4. It helps keep you accountable before the people you’ve made a commitment to.

Having no Accountability

It’s not enough to make a big announcement and not follow through.

Regardless if you fail or succeed, it’s important to have a system that keeps you accountable and helps you reporting your progress.

Not Knowing Your Triggers

When you try to break a habit, you have to know all of your triggers and then create a positive habit to replace the negative habit for each of the triggers.

Put your triggers in your written plan, and be very consistent with them — when the triggers happen, do the habit immediately, every single time. The less consistent you are with your triggers, the weaker the habit will be.

Not Doing Your Reading

Read as much as possible about every habit change, before and during. This way you can find out strategies for success, potential obstacles, good tools that will help you to be successful. 

Changing focus too soon

We often refocus to other things a few weeks after starting a habit change. But the habit probably isn’t firmly ingrained by then, so you waste the time spent trying to form the new habit. 

Stick to the habit for at least 30 days, and be as consistent as possible.

Not Being Consistent

If you attach a habit to a trigger, you have to do the habit every single time, immediately following the trigger. Being intermittent will not lead you to a habit.

Try not to miss a single time if possible, because the more times you miss the more you’re tempted to ignore the trigger again.

Quitting After Failure

If you fail a few times, don’t give up.

Just figure out why it happened, and plan to beat that obstacle next time. Then be as consistent as possible from then on out, until the habit is ingrained.

SIMILAR ARTICLES & IDEAS:

attributed to Aristotle
“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence then, is not an act, but a habit.”
attributed to Aristotle
Confucius
Confucius
“Men’s natures are alike; it is their habits that separate them.”
How to Develop Habits
  • Focus on just one habit, for 30 days.
  • Put it on paper, together with your motivations, obstacles, and strategies for overcoming them.
  • Commit fully, preferably in a public way.
  • Track your progress.
  • Remain publicly accountable — report on your progress each day.
  • Have support for when you falter.
  • Reward small wins.
  • If you fail, figure out what went wrong, plan for it, and try again.

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Making Your Habits Stick

To make any habit stick in the long-term (keystone or not), do it regularly. 

The more often you do the habit, the more you'll get used to it, and eventually, you'll do it wi...

Keep Track Of Your Habit Every Day

It helps to know how often you’re succeeding (or not). Use whatever works for you: pen and paper of habit tracking apps.

A simple way to keep track of your progress is to mark each day you complete your habit on a calendar.

Start Small

Do the minimum you can and be consistent in your behavior.

To create a new habit, you must first simplify the behavior.  A good tiny behavior is easy to do — and fast.

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Benefits of early rising
  • Early morning hours are so peaceful and quiet
  • Rise early and you actually have time for breakfast.
  • Easier to exercise. Exercising right after w...
How to become an early riser
  • Start slowly, by waking just 15-30 minutes earlier than usual.
  • Allow yourself to sleep earlier.
  • Put your alarm clock far from you bed. This way, you have to get up out of bed to shut it off.
  • Go out of the bedroom as soon as you shut off the alarm. 
  • Set something to do early in the morning that’s important. 
  • Make waking up early a reward: make a hot cup of coffee for example, or a tasty breakfast.
  • Take advantage of all that extra time .
Focus On Keystone Habits

Keystone habits lead to the development of multiple good habits. 

Exercise is a good example of this. Once you start to change your exercise habits, it sets off a chain reaction t...

Use “Minimum Viable Effort”

Focus on baby steps. The key to new good habits is to do the minimum and be consistent.

Do not be ambitious at the beginning. That leads to failure. Consistency is what you’re shooting for, so make the hurdle as low as possible.

Make A Plan

Thinking about the details makes you more likely to follow through. 

Just writing down your plan also makes a big difference in effectively committing to your goals.

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Struggling To Build Healthy Habits
  • We tend to bite off more than we can chew, go too fast too soon, and then get overwhelmed too quickly.
  • We’re conditioned these days to expect and receive instant gratification.
Your “Big Why”

As you’re determining the habits or resolutions you’re trying to set, make the habit part of a bigger cause that’s worth the struggle.

You’re not just going to the gym, you’re building a new body that you’re not ashamed of so you can start dating again.

Healthy Habit Building 101

There are 3 parts to a good or bad habit: Cue (what triggers the action), Routine (the action itself), Reward (the positive result because of the action).

You have trained your brain to take a cue (you see a doughnut), anticipate a reward (a sugar high), and make the behavior automatic (nom that donut). 

Compare that to a cue (you see your running shoes), anticipate a reward (a runner’s high), and make the behavior automatic (go for a run!).

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Successful behavior change

One potential problem when changing behaviors is that we're too often motivated by negatives such as guilt, fear, or regret.

  • Research found that long-lasting change in behavior is mo...
Change is a process

... not an event. The transtheoretical model (TTM) presupposes that at any given time, a person is in one of five stages of change: precontemplation, contemplation, preparation, action, maintenance.

Each stage is a preparation for the next one, so you mustn't hurry through or skip stages.

Precontemplation

At this stage, you have no conscious intention of making a change. People in this stage tend to avoid reading, talking, or thinking about unhealthy behavior. However, their awareness and interest may be sparked by outside influences.

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Read to someone

One of the biggest obstacles to reading books we enjoy is that we think we should read books even if we don’t enjoy them—specifically, the idea that if we start a book, we must fi...

The To-Go Box Method

For a weight-loss hack, it goes like this: As soon as you order a meal at a restaurant, ask immediately that half of it be put in a to-go box once it’s ready and only the other half served to you. It’s basically a stricter version of portion control.

We can apply the same technique to get ourselves to read more.

Instead of 2 hours of Netflix each night, cutting it in half would still give you the satisfaction of watching Netflix in the evenings but also free up time to read as well.

Book Summaries

Preview the book in order to vet whether or not it’s worth investing your time in.

  • Use book summaries. Find apps that give accurate and concise summaries of many of the most popular books out there and are constantly updating their library.
  • Use podcast interviews with the author. Authors often go on the podcast circuit to promote their books. 

12 more ideas