Starting a new habit is easy, but how do you stick with it? Psychology has a surprising solution. The Internet is chock full of habits that can massively improve your life (in fact, I've written about quite a few myself). Actually sticking to your habits, however, is an entirely different story.
"We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence then, is not an act, but a habit." Sobering words from Aristotle, and an astute reminder that success doesn't come overnight. On the contrary, it's discipline that gets you from Point A to the often elusive Point B.
Creating new habits that stick is easier if we make use of our current routines, instead of trying to fight them.
Use "if-then planning": choose a regular part of your schedule and then build another “link in the chain” by adding a new habit. For example: "If it is lunch time, then I will only eat meat and vegetables.”
Making repeated choices depletes our mental energy, even if these choices are mundane and pleasant.
If you want to maintain long term discipline, aim for fewer decisions during the day: identify the aspects of your life that you consider mundane and then ‘routinize’ those aspects as much as possible.
Just about everyone wants to cultivate better habits. The problem is, very few of us want to do the work to make those habits a reality. We hope they will magically develop, that one day we'll just wake up (early, without even considering the snooze button) and head straight to the gym.