Start New Habits That Actually Stick!

Where you are in your life today is in essence a sum of your habits. What you repeatedly do (i.e. what you spend time thinking about and doing each day) ultimately forms the person you are, the things you believe, and the personality that you portray. A simple example we can take is if we are in shape of out of shape – a result of our habits.

There is a lot of information available on how to build new habits. I will share a few points that have helped me.

Start Small

Make it so easy you can’t say no

Leo Babauta

Our motivation and willpower go through ups and down during the day and even over a period of time. BJ Fogg, a Standford professor, calls this the “motivation wave”

So rather than attempting to start something new with a big bang, start easy so that even when you are running low on motivation, you can’t say no. For example, instead of starting with with exercising for an hour, start with 10-15 minutes.

Start small and gradually improve. One percent improvements add up surprisingly fast. So do one percent declines.

Break It Down

As you keep making one percent improvements everyday, you will figure out that maintaining momentum is then a challenge. This is where we then break it down to smaller chunks which then makes it easier to accomplish.

Instead of exercising for an hour, break it down into two sets of thirty minutes each.

When you slip, get back on track quickly

We all tend to slip up at some point, make mistakes and go off track. Change can be hard. In the beginning, your habits might take two steps forward and one step back.

Anticipating those backwards steps can make all the difference in the world. Develop a plan for getting back on track and recommit to your routine as quickly as possible.

When the lockdown started last year, I got into the habit of regular exercise and lost a decent amount of weight. It also helped me cope with all that came with adjusting to the lockdown. However around Christmas time, I got sidetracked and it took me a lot of time to get back to my pre-Christmas schedule.

The Compounding Effect

In Atomic Habits, James Clear gives us the example of an ice cube melting.

Until the temperature hits 32 degrees it won’t. Even at 31 degrees nothing will happen but as soon as it’s 32 degrees the ice starts to melt.

This is how it is with habits.

The effects of your habit multiply as you repeat them

James Clear

We have a moment where we plateau and nothing happens for the longest time. But once we compound enough momentum eventually we hit “32 degrees” and things start to shift.

People often call this overnight success.

It’s the moment things blow up and other people start to notice. Yet what others didn’t see were the habits that built the momentum years before. Habits which did nothing until this very moment.

Habits take months, sometimes years, until you start seeing explosive growth.

Progress isn’t linear and most of the time isn’t quick.

Your work isn’t wasted, it’s being stored for the moment when you’re ready to shoot up to that next level.


Hope the points above help you! Give it a try and let me know! 🙂

2 thoughts on “Start New Habits That Actually Stick!

  1. Been thinking a lot about the importance of consistency, stick-to-itiveness (a non-word I like to use) and grit. Love the piece in your article about the reality of the plateau and the difference between 31 and 32 degrees. Thank you!

    Like

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