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Top 5 Hacks for Habit Building in 2018

by: Stefan Simonovic

Source: [Flickr]

Forming a new habit or eliminating an old one is quite challenging, and there are more ways than one to go about doing it. You may want to become a regular at the gym, eat healthier, stop smoking or tweak your dating habits, say if you can’t help but date a cowboy over and over again even though you know a yuppie would actually be a much more compatible choice. Today, we go over our top 5 tips to create a new habit and make it stick.

1: Give Yourself Two Months

You’ve likely heard that it takes 21 days to form a new habit, but new research suggests that it actually takes 66 days to make a new habit stick. Regardless of where those 21 days came from, the point is that you should give yourself more time to really start going to the gym more often or reducing the number of cigarettes you smoke per day.

2: Cue-Routine-Reward

Yes, there is a system to building or breaking a habit, and it constitutes a cue to the action to be performed or not performed, a routine, or behavior that you want to adopt or change, and a reward that comes from following through. If you want to go to the gym more often in the morning, lay out your gym clothes in the evening so when you get up you’re reminded of what needs to be done (cue). Next, actually go and work out (routine), and once you’re done, reward yourself for sticking to new habit building by playing your favorite song, meeting up with friends for coffee in the evening or anything that will motivate you to keep following through.

3: Variety is the Enemy

If you’re trying to make a habit stick, don’t “mix it up” to keep your motivation high. For instance, if you want to make it a habit to have a banana every morning before you leave for work, don’t think that having an orange instead or having some grapes after lunch will help you have a banana every morning. It just takes more motivation and energy, and when it comes to habit building, no one has those to spare.

4: Don’t Give Up If You Miss a Day

Don’t fall off the wagon if you miss a day of going to the gym, having that banana or performing any other habit you’re trying to create because it simply doesn’t matter in the long run. When it comes to building new habits, not looking at the big picture and taking it day by day is very important, but if you miss a day, don’t be too hard on yourself because it simply won’t mess up your habit building process. Just note the slip and move on.

5: Undertow is Real

A term used by psychologists to describe the force that keeps dragging us down as we fight to eliminate destructive behaviour or institute new behaviour, undertow is real, and accepting that fact can help you beat it. Sort of like ‘know thy enemy’. At the same time, being mindful of what we do from moment to moment is undertow’s nemesis, so if you want that gym habit to stick, understand that there will be moments down the road when you’ll be so close to quitting, but you’ll be ready to analyze those moments and see which factors actually contributed to them being created in the first place, doing what is in your power to shut the door on them.

About the author:

Stefan is a writer and a blogger in his spare time. He also works for First Beat Media, a company that mainly focuses on the online dating niche and similar services.

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