It would be nice if we could do a lot of difficult tasks on autopilot, like chores, studying…the good news is: you can! Researchers of the Duke University, have found that habits account for almost 40% of our behavior in any given day.
“So what does this mean?”
It means that if you understand how to build habits successfully, you can make insane progress in many different areas of life. Your health, your business & wealth, happiness, spirituality… with less effort.
This is not the only benefit of building habits, forming new habits can also help you:
- Save time,
- Save willpower,
- Boost your motivation,
- Build consistency,
- Increase competence,
- Increased chance of reaching your goals,
The benefits of building good habits are endless, but that isn’t why you came here, you are reading this article because you want to learn how to build new habits.
Alright, I will give you the process so that we can build new habits together!
Are you ready?
Excellence is an art won by training and habituation. We do not act rightly because we have virtue or excellence, but we rather have those because we have acted rightly. We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit. – Aristotle
How to build new habits in 3 easy steps
The process of building habits is always done in 3 steps, I got this simple process from the book “The Power of Habit” which explains how to build new habits in detail. What are the 3 steps?
1) Cue → 2) Habit → 3) Reward
To explain this habit building process I’m going to use the example of running & Brushing your teeth.
Your cue is something that triggers your brain into thinking “Oh, I’m going to do task X” in this case running. Your cue is the most important part of your habit, if you don’t have a cue then you don’t have a habit. This is because your cue is the indication for your brain to start your habit. If you don’t have a cue, your brain won’t know when you are doing task “X”.
Example Running: My cue for running is to put on my running shoes. This way my brain knows that we have to get into program: running.
Example brushing your teeth: My cue for brushing my teeth is to feel with my tongue over my teeth, if it doesn’t feel smooth then it’s time to brush my teeth.
When you have done your cue, your brain knows okay it’s time to do task “X” and then you do task “X”.
Example Running: I go outside and start running.
Example brushing your teeth: I go to the bathroom and brush my teeth.
Reward is very important in the building new habits process, if you don’t have a good reward then your brain will not be very motivated to build your habit. You have to remember, your brain is designed to get to pleasure and stay away from pain. If you are building a habit that costs a lot of motivation and willpower then your brain will see it as pain. And you will not do this again. Your reward counters this process by linking pleasure to the process. So make sure that you find a good reward.
REMEMBER: We try to build good habits, it would not be very successful if you have a reward that is bad for your health or won’t do you good in the long run.
Example running: In the past my reward was that I would clean my running shoes. Strangely it worked for me, I think it had something to do with me saying to myself “I have done a good job.” Right now my reward is to post a picture of my distance in my mastermind group. It works because this way we motivate each other to run more.
Example brushing your teeth: I feel my and they feel smooth.
Extra tips to build habits effectively
Building a new habit is not done in a few hours or a few days unfortunately. You have to understand that your brain has to create new neural pathways to make this habit. You can see it like a making a path:
In the beginning you have never walked the path and it is full of trees and bushes. You take your machete and start chopping.
After a while there is this small path where you can walk.
After more time there is this road.
After +30 days there is a highway. You take your car and drive on it, easy.
1. 30 days to build a new habit:
Building new habits takes about 30 days to develop. Some say that it takes 21 days, I would take 30 days for safety.
2. Do not forget to do the habit:
This part is very important, you have to develop your habit consistently, if you skip a day then your habit will be gone. This is the hard part about building habits. But hey, have you seen all the benefits?
“But Thomas you mean that if I forget one day, this progress will be gone?”
I don’t think 1 day will matter, but I would the 2 day rule for yourself, you have to do the habit every 2 days. This is definitely good for running, because you should not run every day, your legs have to rest.
But if you can do it every day, do it every day, no excuses.
3. One habit every 30 days
Building new habits takes a lot of willpower and consistency, it is better to develop 1 habit each 30 days. This makes your habit stronger and better.
“I want to do more!!!”
Aright I hear you tiger, 1 habit is advised but 2 habits is definitely possible.
Want to read more about habits?
You can see that building habits is pretty essential if you want to lead a good life, is there more? Can you read more about this habit building? Definitely, you can read the book “The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do, and How to Change” – Charles Duhigg
It is like the bible of building habits, I got this book suggestion from a man and this book changed his life and his business, right now his business does about 22 million a year. Can you do that too? Well who knows, I definitely recommend you to try. 😉
You have come to the end of the post, did you enjoy this post? Awesome! Share it with some friends or on social media. Do you have some extra input? Feel free to drop it, I would be happy to hear it. For the rest I wish you a lot of luck and energy for building new habits. They will change your life.
Keep it up!