Good Habits: How to build them?

December 24, 2019

Imagine this! How would your life change in the coming five years if you develop good habits and stick to it consistently? How would your life look like in five years if you continue to follow bad habits each day?

Human beings are creatures of their habits. The habits you built either lead you or pull you down from living a life you desire. If you observe carefully, the habits (you repeat or don’t repeat) add up over time, and impact your life in a great way. For instance, a person who builds good habits on his/her workout, diet and sleep, all these factors create remarkable results and contribute to a healthy life. On the other hand, if you repeat bad habits (not exercising, eating junk food, ignoring your sleep pattern) every day; all these combinations of habits can be a deterrent against living a healthy life.

As an American novelist, John Irving said, “Good habits are worth being fanatical about.” Here is the main issue with that, it is hard to build them and stick to it for the long term. This doesn’t mean building them is not possible, but it’s very easy to break good habits and deviate from achieving your goals. So, how to build them?

Start small and do it consistently

Consistency is key when it comes to forming good habits. If you are not consistent with your habits, then it’s not a habit at all, it becomes a thing you do when you feel like doing it. If you really want to build good habits, then you should focus on taking small baby step, which is so much easier to do now that you can’t say no. If you start small, take baby steps and stay consistent, there will be enough time to keep up the momentum and make progress. 

  • Want to start an exercise habit? Then, you should commit to exercising for a minute today.
  • Want to build a study habit? Then, you should start studying one subject today.
  • Want to develop healthy eating habits? Then, commit to eating one healthy meal today.

It doesn’t matter how small you start, the goal is staying consistent in order to develop good habits. Once you develop an ability to remain consistent, then you can gradually step up to the next difficult level. This approach works much better rather than being too ambitious initially, and eventually quitting after a few days.

Make it Fun

Katherine Milkman love reading fiction novels, especially The Hunger Games trilogy,  but she doesn’t like to go to gyms. She is struggling to build good habits, exercising every day, and living a fit lifestyle. So she decided to do something different- listening to her favourite audiobooks only when she is exercising. What happened next? She was able to hit the gym five days a week. Smart approach right.

Her story doesn’t end here, fast forward five years, she published a research paper on her approach of building good habits. She named her approach “temptation bundling” in her research paper, which really works to solve any self-control problem and build good habits. And the best part is if you want to build good habits, you can combine temptations (things you love to do) with the habits you want to build (things you don’t enjoy so much and tends to procrastinate). Last but not least, you need to take actions by combining both, to build the good habits you desire.

 In other words, combine what you really love doing with something you don’t really enjoy. The end result, will guide you to build good habits, a win-win situation.

Reward yourself

When actress Kim Novak asked Legendary filmmaker Alfred Hitchcock about her character in Vertigo- “What’s my motivation?”. He replied to her “Your Paycheck”. Here is how it works, rewards can be a great motivating factor to build good habits in the long run and achieve your goals. If it isn’t rewarding, you can try step 2-  making it fun, also called temptation bundling.

Here is the key, you repeat bad habits, not because you don’t want to change, because the reward is satisfying. Think about this, if it is unsatisfying, we are less likely to repeat it. James Clear in his book “Atomic Habits” call this “The Cardinal Rule of Behavior Change.” To borrow from him- “What is immediately rewarded is repeated. What is immediately punished is avoided.”

If you reward yourself after good habits, you are more likely to repeat the same behaviour and make further progress. Next time, if you don’t like to do your homework, give yourself a positive reinforcement and you are more likely to do it. For instance, I’ll do my homework and I will watch funny videos. Or, it could be a chocolate after exercising, just to name a few.

Have a Plan if you fail

As you progress on building good habits, it’s more likely that you fail. But failure doesn’t have to stop you at all, the key to building them is having a plan to get back on track as soon as possible.

Here is an effective strategy “never miss twice” and you can apply this to build good habits. Ensure that you don’t miss anything twice in a row even if you miss once. For instance, if you miss a workout today, make sure you don’t miss twice, and you will do it tomorrow, anyway. Maybe you eat an entire cake today and can’t stick to your dieting plan, make sure you don’t repeat it twice, and you will have a healthy meal tomorrow.

You don’t have to feel guilty if you are not able to practice good habits consistently. Instead, you should make sure that you have a plan to bounce back after slipping up on your habits.

At Samriddhi School, we emphasise holistic development of our students by educating them practical learning experience beyond the classroom. Samriddhi School, one of the best schools in Kathmandu, is committed to inspire and motivate students to achieve the highest standards of intellectual development as well as personal growth, through a stimulating and comprehensive STEAM educational programme. For more information about our school in Kathmandu, please visit our website or Contact us 014390590/ 4383777.

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