When you think of people who are high-achievers, who are always able to eat healthy, excel at work or school, workout and do everything on time might have some superhuman powers. But while it’s easy to brush this away as something achievable, it is actually all down to habit. And habits can be begun to build in just seven days.
People with good habits rarely resist the need to procrastinate, or eat unhealthy food, or skip their exercise. That is mostly because when autopilot takes over, we eliminate any temptation. When we establish good habits, less willpower is required to make the right choices. Sounds great? Well, building good habits takes effort. However, there are a few science and research-backed ways that help you set up good habits. If you try one of these every day, you should be able to start to build a habit.
Day 1 - Set your specific goals
The way you define your goals and the habits you want to form matter. If you set yourselves abstract and vague goals, it’ll be harder to form habits out of them. Being more specific about what you aim to do and how often will help you to form habits. Sit down and think about what you want to achieve, and try smaller, specific goals in line with the habits you want to form
Day 2 - Create a plan
Now you have a goal, create a plan to get there. Think about what will push you to follow through. You’ll make more progress towards your goal if you do not just decide what you will do to meet it, but also how and when you’ll be motivated to do it, and also where and how you’ll do it. Be specific in your plan as to where and when you’re going to put in the work, and you’re much more likely to create habits. This is because it reduces the chance you’ll forget to follow through - if you put it in your calendar or diary you’re even more likely to stick to it. If you anticipate and maneuver around any potential blockers, this will also help.
Day 3 - Find ways to make it fun
When you set out to build a habit, it’s going to be really easy to overestimate your willpower and you might try and get there the quickest and most efficient way. Today, try to think of ways you can make your goals fun for you. Research has shown that if you focus on finding ways to make your goals fun, you’re more likely to achieve more. You are more likely to stick with things you enjoy, as repetition is key to forming habits, so making the experience positive is critical.
Day 4 - Try a different time or place
By the time we have our habits on autopilot, it's easy to fall into a fairly consistent routine, doing things at the same time of day and in the same palace. But in these early phases, it might be easier to put some variety into your routine, to figure out what works best for you. You might like workouts more in the evening rather than first thing for example - so why not try something different today? Also, a flexible habit means that you can still do your goal when life gets in the way. If your routine gets too stale, you’ll also get bored and might be more likely to follow through less.
Day 5 - Give yourself time off if needed
If you try to squeeze in your goal when you just don’t have time, it becomes stressful and you’re less likely to achieve it. Give yourself a day where you allow yourself the day off if you really need to. Missing your goals and beating yourself up for it can hinder your way to good habits, but being compassionate when you just don’t have the time and letting yourself take the day off can help you to be less discouraged.
Day 6 - Find support
Seeking support can help you to stick to your habits, so today, make it a task to find people with the same goals or habits you’d like to emulate. Tell people about your goals and habits, and surround yourself with similar people, as we are always influenced by the people around us - so we might as well make them a good influence! Habits are contagious, so maybe try and find a group of friends that are a little far ahead of you. It’s also a great way to make new friends!
Day 7 - Take a look at how far you’ve come
It’s important to track your progress and take stock of the changes you’ve made to meet your goals - and look at how much closer you are to having better habits. Celebrate your successes today, because it will motivate you so much more to keep at it and develop those habits into that autopilot frame of mind. Write down the ways your life has improved so far thanks to your newly found habits, and you’re much more likely to stick to them!
By Amy Cavill
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