Being successful in any area of life primarily comes down to all the small, seemingly insignificant choices we make on a day-to-day basis. Those choices become our habits. And our habits become our life!
Success is the product of daily habits—not a once-in-a-lifetime transformation.James Clear
Creating a new habit is like planting a small tree. You have to take care of it and water it every day and protect it from outside forces. It is very fragile. Old habits are like huge trees. They are rooted deep in the ground and it takes a hell lot of time and effort to remove them.
There are two different things you want to take care of in your life: Taking care of your new, fragile good habits and working on removing the deep-rooted bad habits. To make this a bit easier, here are some that I took from the book “Atomic Habits” by James Clear (highly recommend it!), combined with some examples of habits from my life.
Let’s start with 4 simple steps on how to grow new habits:
1. Become Aware of Your Current Habits
To find out where you can implement your new habits you should first make a list of all your already existing patterns. These could be as trivial as “I go to the toilet after I wake up” or “I check my phone at 7 a.m.”
This is also a good opportunity to notice the bad habits that you want to change. To determine if it’s a good or bad habit, ask yourself: “Does this behavior help me become the type of person I want to be?”
2. Use Implementation Intentions
Determine exactly, what you will do when, and where. This will help your body create the new connection in your brain that you want. Complete this sentence:
“I will [Behavior] at [Time] in [Location].”
e.g.: “I will do a plank at 1 p.m. on my yoga mat.”
3. Use Habit Stacking
This one was a total game-changer for me! As you have identified your existing habits in the first step, you can now attach new habits to the existing ones. You just stack one habit on the other. The phrase for this one to use is:
“After [Current Habit] I will [New Habit].”
Honestly, this strategy is the reason why my morning routine is working soo well, so here is my habit stock:
“After I wake up, I meditate for 10-15 minutes – After I meditate, I journal – After I journal, I go to the toilet and wash my face – After I wash my face, I do a 10-15 minute workout – After I have done my workout, I change. – After I have changed, I drink a big glass of water with lemon – After I drink a big glass of water with lemon, I prepare breakfast and listen to Darren Daily (daily posted short videos with inspiring insights).
The magical thing is, that your brain connects one habit to the other and it gets so much easier to get through all the things.
4. Design your Environment
You know what habit you want to implement where and when. Now it’s important to make the first step as easy and as obvious as possible.
For me, this means for example that in the morning, my journal has to be on the table, otherwise, I will forget to use it. This could also mean leaving your workout clothes in front of your bed the evening before or writing a Post-it reminder.
Another part of your environment is the people who surround you. Find a person or a group where your desired behavior is already normal. Also, an accountability partner can help you to stick to your new habit, and it’s more fun to tackle a project together and motivate one another!
One Habit at a Time
One last thing: Take it one habit at a time and make it your goal to never miss twice. If you skip on one day just carry on the next day. With this, you’re good to go! So, which new habit will you start today?
Unsure about where to start? If you want to read more about habits, find out 6 habits of a young changemaker here!