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How to build habits that will last all year

Ensure the means

When building a new habit, make sure you have all the means that would enable you to get to like it faster. 

Equipment is often what matters the most when trying to get used to a new routine.

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How to build habits that will last all year

How to build habits that will last all year

https://zapier.com/blog/effective-habit-change/

zapier.com

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Key Ideas

Building habits

Our habits have the power to enable us, most of the time, to live a more organized life. However, we might find it quite challenging when it comes to establishing new habits, as they require time and strong will. 

We should start by taking small steps every day in order to get used to eventually taking big ones for longer periods of time.

Set measurable targets as habits

When trying to build new habits, be specific by thinking about ways to measure the evolution of your action: set clear targets that can help you, when the deadline previously decided on approaches, to evaluate your progress.

The pros and cons of building new habits

When picking up a new habit, think it well through: take into account the possible inconveniences as well as the most attractive advantages. 

Remember that sometimes it might get harder to keep to the habit, but eventually, you are doing it for a good cause that is related directly to yourself.

Get used to planning

Whenever you plan on building a new habit, make sure that you have already planned thoroughly what to do when difficulties appear: how to handle the situations that make it harder to respect your new routine. 

Associate new habits to the old ones

If you feel like picking up a new habit, don't start from scratch. It is easier when you associate a new habit to one that already exists. 

This way, it will seem less work and fewer changes. In the end, both notions tend to scare us, so why not better avoid them?

Ensure the means

When building a new habit, make sure you have all the means that would enable you to get to like it faster. 

Equipment is often what matters the most when trying to get used to a new routine.

Provide the proper reward

When considering a new habit, make sure you see its accomplishment as satisfying rather than tiring. Therefore, choosing the proper reward for after completion of the habit can make you feel more at ease when it comes to your new routine.

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A step at a time

Once you have made up your mind about taking on a new habit, you might as well start getting used to it. Just remember that we have, as humans, the tendency to work better without pressure and when taking one step at a time. 

Therefore, start by creating small habits and get used to them and you will see how easy it is to build long-lasting routines that will make your life easier.

Practice makes perfect

When having taken the decision to introduce in your routine a new habit, it is very important to remember that practice makes perfect. Consequently, wait no more and start doing even if just a bit every day. You will eventually succeed in adding a new habit while feeling proud of yourself for being consistent.

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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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Starting good habits and sticking to them
  1. Harness the dopamine effect: identify the desired outcome. Mentally walking yourself through the process of success and the joys and benefits it brings can teach your brain to be motivated by something other than dread.
  2. Start with baby-steps: identify the “tiny habits”  behaviors — we should start with small actions that we can celebrate.
  3. Use triggers: these new habits follow other routines that are already ingrained into your daily life(triggers), so every time you complete this already existing behavior, there will be a trigger, or an automatic reminder, in your brain to do the new one.
  4. Let it snowball.
Exercise as a daily habit

The problem with trying to make exercise a habit is that you usually try to exercise 3 or 4 times a week … and that makes creating a new exercise habit difficult. 

Exercising ...

Set a time

Decide whether you’re more likely to stick with it in the morning or lunchtime or evening, and stick with that time

If you don’t set a time, you’re more likely to put it off until you have more time or energy, and then put it off until the next day. Soon, it’s not a habit at all.

Send yourself a reminder

There are a number of ways to send yourself an email or text reminder, so you’ll never forget. 

Then, when you get the reminder, do it right away. Don’t brook any delays.

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Failure Is Inevitable

Most of us fail in our endeavors at some point in our lives, whether it's a New Year's resolution or a health goal you are working on. These setbacks make us human, not a failure.

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Schedule Your Habits

Schedule your habits by giving them a specific space in your daily waking hours. You can put it in your calendar, or link it to your current behavior patterns. 

Create a system around your existing life to incorporate the new habit.

Stick to Your Schedule

Even doing something small towards your goal can help build a daily routine.

Example: Instead of skipping the morning jog entirely due to lack of time, one can jog for a few minutes.

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Habit tracking

Is a simple and effective thing to do if you want to stick with a habit for good. No matter the format (calendar, journal, app), it provides immediate evidence whether you are making progress or...

The power of habit tracking:
  1. It creates a visual cue that can remind you to act.
  2. It is motivating to see the progress you are making. You don't want to break your streak.
  3. It feels satisfying to record your success in the moment.
To make habit tracking easier:
  1. Manual tracking should be limited to your most important habits
  2. Record each measurement immediately after the habit occurs

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“Micro quotas”

In the process of finding a balance between your desire to dream big and your day-to-day activities, create macro quotas.

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Behavior chains

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.”

Simplify decision-making

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.

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Understanding Motivation

Neurologically speaking, motivation is the desire to escape psychological discomfort or a life situation that is not giving us any kind of ‘pleasure’.

Most behaviors are prompted by discomfort. If we are hungry, we eat. If we are lonely, we call up a friend. If we are bored, we turn on the TV.

The Test

If we are procrastinating instead of doing a certain task, telling ourselves that we would it later, it is a sure sign that the task isn’t a habit which can be done on autopilot but is, in fact, a routine.

Anything that requires effort is easy to forget or postpone.

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Taking breaks is key to better productivity
Taking breaks is key to better productivity

The harder and longer you work, the less productive overall you'll be. Research confirms that taking breaks before you're mentally exhausted is essential for productivity.

Setting healthy boundaries

Set your personal boundaries, so you have dedicated time to take care of yourself, your family or household, and your professional responsibilities. You won't be any good to your family if you regularly jump up to respond to work.

The key to success is deciding on expectations, then communicating those to others. You need to get clear in your mind what hours you will be attending to your work. Perhaps dedicate a space in your home as the "office," letting everyone know that you need privacy. Decide when you are "on" and when you are "off."

Technology and productivity

We all have tools in our pockets to help us.

  • For example, consider using your phone's built-in alarm for taking breaks, or giving yourself a reminder to eat lunch, or taking a screen break to reduce eyestrain.
  • If you find it challenging to work, consider a productivity method like the Pomodoro technique, where you work deeply for about 25 minutes, then take a short break. Repeat four of the cycles, then take a 30-minute break before starting again. There are many Pomodoro apps to help you.
  • Don't forget to use the same technology to turn off notifications and distractions while you're working.

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