Good Habits: 5 ways to make habits stick

Deciding to form a new habit is easy, but making it stick for a long time is the difficult part. Maybe that’s the reason why we tend to fail more than we succeed.

There are many people who blame a lack of self-discipline, however, I believe that the most important thing is to have a strong reason to learn the new habit in the first place. Just wanting to study 2 hours everyday is not a strong reason. Studying everyday to ace in the class and to get admitted to a good university is a stronger reason.

Habit is something that comes to us naturally. You don’t have to give it a second thought. For instance, brushing our teeth. You don’t have to think twice, or…….do you?

Anyways, Now that we’ve covered the most important part of sticking habit, let’s move to other 5 major factors to make a habit stick.

#1 Keep your goals realistic

Say, Thomas is a high-school student who is learning German. He is excited and motivated at the beginning and so he decides to practice learning German for 2 hours every day. He achieves his goal for the first few days but eventually, reality hits him and boom!

He has an exam coming up and is left with a couple of assignments to finish. With only 30 minutes to spare at the end of the day, he decides to skip his German lessons. Days snowball into weeks and weeks into months. Does that sound relatable?

Why it is important?

Though it may seem like the right thing, devoting large time to a still-developing-habit can prove to be wrong. In long-run it can make our brain overwhelmed and and avoid the task all-together. This is why it is important to simplify difficult tasks. (Keep in mind that the habit is not your second nature yet)

Keeping the goals realistic since day 1, helps to create the right strategy and makes it easier to achieve the goals. By setting realistic goals, You are more likely to pay attention to practical matters.

  • Makes it easier to achieve your goals.
  • You can prepare the right strategy to reach your goals.
  • You can focus your attention in on practical matters.

How can you do it?

Start small. Instead of giving your new habit humongous amount of time, Why not start with a daily-goal of 15 minutes and consider any extra-time devoted to that habit as a bonus? That way, we don’t have to worry about missing out on our daily success streaks.

Write your short and long term milestones on a paper and place it somewhere where it is visible. Review it regularly. Do not forget to mention the goals in detail.

  • Read your goals and review them regularly.
  • Set long-term and short-term goals.
  • Be elaborate while setting these goals

#2 Stay Consistent: Try not to miss a day

Why is it important?

It is said that if you stay persistent, then you are likely to achieve it and if you are consistent then you are likely to keep it.

Persistence and consistency is the key to successfully forming new habits and maintaining it. And this is where most people fail. On an average, it takes us 66 days to form a new habit. That is, around 2 months to transform into our second habit.

Staying consistent helps us build a momentum and the Self-discipline. Delayed gratification would result in a fruitful result.

  • Builds momentum
  • Builds Self-discipline
  • Result will be fruitful

How can you do it?

It’s not possible to feel flowery everyday. What makes life interesting is the ups and downs that it brings. There will be days when we’d feel like we’re done. That is why you need to have a strong reason to learn the new habit. Learning something new for the sake of fun may not hold up your will during tough days.

Record your progress and practice delayed gratification (resist the temptations). Above all, be patient and work sincerely.

  • Be Patient
  • Practice Delayed gratification
  • Stay Accountable

#3 Don’t ‘always’ seek Motivation

Why is it important?

Don’t seek motivation, You are not ‘always’ going to feel like it. Once in a while motivational videos are fine, but watching videos consecutively is does no good. When you feel motivated enough to get started, start. Or else, the brain would kill that instinct.

Apart from that, you can’t really always follow your heart because sometimes it tricks us and confines us to our comfort zone. As Mark Manson says, Dogs and toddlers follow their heart but they poop on the carpet too. Blindly following out heart can be stupid.

My ultimate tip for you, is to use 5 seconds rule. Scroll down, it is written below.
It’s okay if you’ve given up before. Everyone does. But as Martin Luther said,

“If you can’t fly then run, if you can’t run then walk, if you can’t walk then crawl, but whatever you do you have to keep moving forward.”

  • One a while motivational videos are okay but don’t watch them back-to-back. You’ll slip back to your old ways.
  • Don’t follow your heart blindly. You’ll become a prisoner of your comfort zone.
  • Failure is a part of success. If you can’t handle failure, then you can’t handle success too.

How can you do it?

It’s okay to have unproductive days. Just make sure that those days do not outnumber your productive number of days. Expose yourself to more opportunities. Put your skills to test. People usually seem motivation as a single element when in reality, it is a closed loop interlinked with several other elements.

Motivation leads to progress,
Progress leads to success,
Success leads to inspiration,
Inspiration leads to more motivation.

  • Use 5 seconds rule (Scroll down to learn more)
  • Be sincere and test your skills frequently, it will boost your confidence.
  • Use Pomodoro Technique

#4 Make your work/Study fun!

I know it sounds corny, but it works.

– Work

Team Members: Try to bond with your team mates but don’t be pushy because trust builds with time. You can do so by frequently planning outings together. Engage yourself in healthy competition with your team members. Appreciate them and compliment them often.

Work Place: Keep your working table decluttered and if possible, decorate it. If your office gives you the freedom to change your sitting place often, grab the opportunity. It refreshes the mind. Keep a separate music playlist for work and do not forget to take short breaks in between.

The bottom line is to work in a happy environment.

– Study

Research more on the topic you are studying and often quiz yourself. The best way to make the process fun is by frequently testing your retention. The more you test yourself, the more confidence you gain.

Say, You are learning to play some instruments. Set some days when you would test the skills you learned. If you don’t get it correct, practice it again. If you are learning to play a new sport, join as many matches as you can. The point is to improve your skill everyday.

#5 Utilize your short breaks

Why is it important?

Breaks help us freshen up our mind. I believe that it our small decisions that make the large impact. Short breaks can either get you on the track or get you off the track. That’s why you should use them wisely.

I prefer using Pomodoro technique where you work for 25 minutes, and take a 5 minutes break. Utilize this 5 minutes break wisely. Try to do something light, yet quite productive. Something that doesn’t get you off the track.

That’s defeats the very purpose of breaks!

Well, calm down. After practicing this 4 times, I take a longer break of 15 to 20 minutes and do whatever you wish to do during this long break.

Whatever you do, Do not let your brain consider your work as a burden.

This works for me and many people other there. I prefer researching more on the topic because it elevates my interest in that field.

  • Builds a momentum
  • Elevates your interest in that field
  • Additional knowledge

How can you do it?

  • Switch off the push notifications
  • Decide what to watch/read before hand

 Bonus point!

Overcoming procrastination is a tough deal. I use 5 seconds rule to overcome it.

Whenever you feel unsure of getting started with some work, count backwards from 5 to 0. As soon you say 1, take action and move your body (yeah, even if you don’t feel like it). This rule was introduced by Mel Robbins. According to her, It takes 5 seconds for our brain to kill an instinct. So, the moment to get a thought, act on it within 5 seconds or you’re gonna procrastinate on it the whole day.

5 Element of the 5 seconds rule, by Mel Robbins.

Conclusion

The key element to forming a successful habit is patience and determination. You need to have a strong reason to transform your life, and not slip back to your old ways. It’s obviously going to feel uncomfortable in the beginning, but just trust the process and sincerely follow the above mentioned tips.

Most importantly, never forget that Rome wasn’t built in a day.

Please do let me know if this trick worked for you. If you have something to add to this list, then please do so in the comment section down below. Do not forget to check out my other posts too.

Ciao!