Why You Should Be Tracking Your Habits (and How to Do It Well)
The best way to turn a behavior into a habit is to use a trigger to remind yourself to do it. Your trigger needs to be something you always do anyway. Anything you already do without thinking works.
As you build new habits, you create new triggers for yourself and stack a new habit onto it. Each existing habit acts as a trigger to remind you to complete the next one until it becomes natural to do both together.
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Factors to consider when choosing a new habit to track:
You can’t fully focus on any behavior if you try to establish several at once.
Doing so risks overloading your willpower and your habits may end up competing for priority.
To make your habits automatic faster, plan them into your day. Do them in the same way, in the same place, at the same time every day.
If you complete your new habit at any time, on any day, you won’t get the advantage of familiarity that helps you get used to doing that behavior without thinking about it.
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Just like going to the gym and building up strength, the more you train your willpower by accomplishing tasks on a consistent basis
...to familiar environmental cues.
They form when you engage in a behavior repeatedly in the presence of consistent stimuli.
Long term change is better served by building better habits, than by forcing your willpower.
You will choose the apple over the cake for a number of times ... and then give up. Building a habit to start the day by going to the gym will work better.
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Some of our daily to-dos should not require a constant daily effort and could be optimized further. Look for such habits and if the daily effort is straining you, look for other innovative solutions.
Time and Energy are limited resources, and as we grow, our habits may become obsolete. We could use the same time and energy to explore new and better options.
It is a good idea to pay attention to where we spend our time and see if there is something we do daily but have outgrown long ago.
Being consistent can also lead to burnout and lack of growth, and to be creative and innovative, we sometimes need a break from our daily activity. When we stop and do something new, we start to be part of a creative process, instead of simply repeating the same thing every day.
The key is to not rely on a rigid consistency but to be resilient enough to withstand any breaks. Our resilient habits are usually the old ones and have some psychological rewards while involving some external accountability.
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