We all have a desire to form good habits that will make our lives better. Whether it’s eating healthy, exercising more, or getting more organized, form good habits can take some work. You might find that when you try to develop good habits, you’re able to stick with them for a while before losing your motivation and quitting. This can become incredibly frustrating if it happens often. Here’s how you can develop good habits and make them stick.
A majority of people are looking to create significant changes in their life as quickly as they can. The problem with this approach to forming good habits is that it requires a ton of willpower. Research has shown that your willpower works a lot like a muscle. If you use it a lot, it will tend to get tired and will increase your chances of quitting. The solution is to start small and focus on establishing the new habit first. You never want to increase your effort before the habit has become a natural part of what you do every day.
When you’ve invested a lot of effort into completing a new project, it can be challenging to let the project go. You can use this tendency to your advantage. Comedian Jerry Seinfeld used what he called “don’t break the chain” to become a better comic. He committed to writing a new joke every day, and when he completed his writing for the day, he would mark the day on the calendar with a big red “X.” After a couple of days, he had a chain he didn’t want to break. This strategy creates a visual reminder of the effort you’ve invested in forming a new habit.
Celebrate Small Wins
Most people are better at beating themselves up for poor performance than they are about rewarding themselves for a good one. When it comes to forming new habits, celebrating your progress is enormous for your motivation. Every time you make progress toward your new habit, no matter how small, make sure that you reward yourself for increasing your feelings of achievement and pride.
Surround Yourself with Support
The circle of people in our lives has a surprisingly significant impact on our behavior. One way to dramatically increase your chances of success in forming new habits is to make sure you have the right people in your corner.
Forming new habits takes time and practices, but with these four tips, you can be well on your way to creating a life of happiness.