My learning on habits has been massively influenced by both James Clear and Charles Duhigg in their hugely successful books Atomic Habits and The Power Of Habit. I’ve dropped my key insights into habit formation below:
- Manage Your Environment
Have you ever gone shopping on an empty stomach? If so, you’ve almost certainly bought a load of bad food you didn’t need. This creates an issue in the future because you’ve made it easy to eat bad over the next week. Try controlling your environment, reducing the likelihood of failure in the future, and increasing the likelihood of success
2. Stack them with the stuff you already do!
Use the stuff you already do habitually to help you build a new routine in. When you get out of bed, have a glass of water ready to drink. When you brush your teeth, do some calf raises. When you get home from work change into your gym gear. Use these existing routines as the bridge to form a new habit
3. Reward Yourself
Make it fun and reward yourself for doing the do. My wife Gill, who had never run a 5k before, did a marathon a couple of years ago. How did she stay disciplined? Running into town for a cake on her long runs! It might be a nice treat or something mundane like moving paper clips from one box to the next after each sales call. Choose what works but create a reward after the habit
4. Get Someone To Call Your Bulls*!&
It never ceases to amaze me how creative our minds can be to justify our failure to stay disciplined to a task. Getting someone to help to see our performance more objectively is massive. Personally, I don’t think this person can be a close friend , but where there’s a mutual benefit in getting each other to go further than we would otherwise.
5. Plan the Specifics
Get specific with what you’re doing, when you’re doing it, and how you’ll make sure you do it. The more thought you put into how you’ll carry out the new habit, the more likely you are to follow through with it. Therefore, set some time aside weekly to plan in your new habit to your diary.