Making Habits Stic. Many superachievers who consistently make time for workouts, maintain a healthy diet, excel in exams, and handle family commitments aren’t endowed with superhuman willpower but rely on the power of habits. Habits automate our choices, requiring minimal self-control. Creating good habits may not be effortless, but science provides valuable insights on where to begin and how to make the journey smoother.
1. Be Specific About Your Goal
Abstract goals like “meditate regularly” can be vague and challenging to tackle. Opt for specific objectives such as “meditate for 15 minutes daily.” Specificity makes your goal less daunting and progress more visible.
2. Plan with Cues
Having a clear goal is one thing; knowing how and when to act upon it is another. A cue-based plan specifying when, where, and how you’ll take action helps reinforce your habit. For instance, “I’ll study Spanish for 30 minutes in my office after my last work meeting.”
3. Make It Fun
Focusing on quick results may lead to efficient but short-lived efforts. Instead, make your goal pursuit enjoyable. Whether it’s fun workouts with a friend or tasty smoothies to incorporate fruits and veggies, a positive experience encourages repetition and habit formation. Try “temptation bundling” by indulging in a craving only while working toward your goal, turning it into a source of pleasure.
4. Embrace Flexibility
While routines can help, inserting some variability into your habit-building journey can prevent rigidity. Experiment with different times and locations for your habit. Consider including “emergency reserves” for unavoidable disruptions to avoid discouragement.
5. Seek the Right Social Support
Share your goals with friends and family for accountability. Additionally, seek social support from those who have already established the habit you desire. Surrounding yourself with people who have similar goals can provide motivation and helpful insights. Habits are contagious, so learn from those ahead of you on the journey.
Remember, habit formation takes time and varies from person to person. While simple behaviors may become habits quickly, more complex ones can take months to solidify. The key is persistence and gradual progress.