Building healthy habits

When you woke up this morning, you put one foot down before the other. It’s very likely you have a preferred foot. Do you get out of bed left foot first or right foot? Like many people you probably don’t think about it. Just like how you don’t think about which direction you brush your teeth or which side of the bed to sleep in at night.

Many of the things we do each day run on autopilot. Our habits eventually become so ingrained that we don’t even realise we are doing them. Life just seems so much easier that way. Productive people take advantage of this to build habits that sustain their goals. Bestselling fiction writers are people who have the habit of writing a few hundred words each day. Virtuoso musicians are people who have the habit of practising for two hours each day. Five hundred words do not make a decent novel but multiply those words by the number of days in a year and you have a trilogy. Similarly, two hours on the violin won’t make you a professional but do that over ten years and there is no piece you can’t tackle.

Good habits are easy to form if you are aware of a few things:

Positive habits are easier to form.

It’s easier to build a habit of walking for 15 minutes each morning than it is to break a habit of smoking that you have acquired over a lifetime.

Cellphone chain
Chains aren’t easy to break

Focus on one habit

You have made a decision to eat healthier, exercise more, journal more often, drink a lot more water and write the next bestseller. That’s a good thing. Any goal worth achieving is bound to come with some discomfort but let’s be realistic. It’s easier to stack more good habits if you have a foundation of other supporting habits. You can start by building the habit of eliminating carbonated soft drinks from your diet first thing in the morning. Once you have become comfortable doing that, start walking for five minutes each day.

Start small

The people who run marathons are the people who made the decision to start running along their street each morning. Olympic athletes win millions for running just a few seconds. Behind those seconds are years of small habits that compounded. Don’t let yourself feel you’re not making progress just because it’s not news worthy. Build towards it.

Set up Reminders

It’s easy to forget to journal each night if it hasn’t been your habit. Set up a reminder on your phone and a pomodoro to work on your new habit for 15 minutes each day. Eventually, you won’t need either.

Alarm clock
Need to do it? Set a reminder.

Reward yourself

You have exercised every day for the past month. This will be a good time to buy that book you have been looking forward to reading.

Whatever the goal you are trying to achieve, it will be a lot easier if you can build habits that support that. Successful businessmen, Authors, Artists, Musicians and Athletes all have good habits. It’s how they keep doing what they do even when they have bad days. Have you built your own set of habits?

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