Why do we care about having good habits? Habits can either serve you or hurt you. Good habits solve problems and help you achieve your goals. Bad habits take you further away from your goals and can negatively affect your life. In Atomic Habits, James Clear says “habits are the compound interest of self-improvement.” So even if you don’t see the consequences until years down the road your habits are adding up every single day for good or bad. That’s why it’s so important to start creating good habits now, it’s like opening up a retirement account, you don’t see the benefits now but you’ll be grateful later. Ultimately habits help you become who you want to be. So here are my tips on how to create habits and achieve your goals.
What are your intentions?
1. Set your intentions. What we do everyday is who we are, our habits are our identities and we get to choose who we are (if you struggle with this read my post about changing your limiting beliefs). So what kind of person do you want to be in a month, six months, five years? What habits will support that identity? What does that person do every single day that helped them get to that point? Write down your ideal day in detail then pick a few habits to start working on now. Act as if you are already that person.
“Time magnifies the margin between success and failure. It will multiply whatever you feed it. Good habits make time your ally, bad habits make time your enemy.” – James Clear
2. Focus on just a few habits at a time. If you try to do too much at once you’ll get overwhelmed and likely quit out of frustration so pick no more than 3 habits to work on at a time. Trying to start 10 new goals might seem like a good idea when you’re feeling optimistic and motivated, but when the motivation wears off (and it always will) you’ll be glad to just focus on what’s really important.
Make it easy.
3. Create systems that will support and enforce the habits you want. Goals give your direction but your systems are what helps you make progress. You won’t be successful at creating a new habit if you don’t change your environment to support them, after all if you haven’t found success doing what you’re doing now that probably won’t change.
If you want to make going to the gym a habit set out your clothes the night before. If working from home and actually being productive is your goal then you have to minimize distractions so you don’t end up just watching Netflix. To eat healthier you need healthy food on hand and ready to go.
Try setting up reminders of your goals around you. I’ve tried to start new habits before and promptly forgot about them on day 3 because I didn’t have any reminders around me. At the bottom of this post I’ve linked free habit trackers that you can print and tape onto your fridge, door, mirror, etc. Put reminders on your phone (I love the Loop Habit Tracker app which helped me develop daily yoga, meditation, and gratitude habits), on post its, have a friend hold you accountable, whatever you have to do.
4. Link new habits with current habits. So after I do (current habit) I will then do (new habit). After I workout I will meditate. When I get home from work I will put on my gym clothes. As soon as I get home from the grocery store I will meal prep. As soon as I get out of bed I will make it.
Don’t expect perfection.
5. None of us are perfect. Being hard on yourself will just lead to you to quitting and “starting over” a hundred times. When you commit to a goal also commit to forgiving yourself for the stumbles that will come, and be ready to get back on track. Notice where you stumbled without criticism, reassess your systems if needed. Do you need to adjust anything to make your desired behavior easier?
6. Creating a new habit takes time. If you are willing to put in the time and effort you will see the results. Remember compound interest takes time to add up, your everyday habits do count even if you don’t see the benefit right away. So keep at it and when you’re feeling unmotivated remember why you started and how those habits will get you to who you want to be.
I hope you found this information on how to create habits and achieve your goals helpful. What habits do you want to develop? What steps are you taking to work on them everyday?