The internet (and our site!) is chock full of awesome habits that can shift your life towards success.
As you probably know, this is easier said than done. When life gets in the way, there are tons of things that can turn our successful habits into occasional wishes.
Thankfully, there are some-science backed ways to make your habits stick like glue:
Create specific actions.
To the successful, a dream isn’t something achieved by deliberating how to reach it, but rather a specific, well-conceived desire that always happens. That’s why the scientific key to creating an iron-clad habit is to state when and where you intend to perform the action.
Renowned entrepreneur and habit expert James Clear reports that in a study performed by the British Journal of Health Psychology, people who set an intention by creating an action plan of when and where to work out had a 91 percent success rate in making time for exercise each week.
The two other groups, a control group and a group who simply read a motivational pamphlet on the health benefits of exercise, had just 38 and 35 percent success rates, respectively.
For example, instead of saying you will be more efficient in your workday, try setting a digital calendar notification for reading your email only in the morning, at noon, and before you go home, and then let it snowball from there.
Make a backup plan.
As you probably know, it’s almost odd when things go exactly to plan. That’s why you need a backup plan for those inevitable roadblocks. Instead of completely derailing your habit, you’re simply discovering a new way to make it work.
For instance, your plan may be to work on your MBA studies every evening after dinner. One night, your child has a baseball tournament you want to attend. Instead of studying at your usual time, make a backup plan to study an extra hour the night before and the night after. As Charles Duhigg says in The Power of Habit, “There’s nothing you can’t do if you get the habits right.”
Eliminate your options.
Science says it’s also extremely helpful to eliminate multiple options when forming positive habits.
According to The Power of Habit, “willpower isn’t just a skill. It’s a muscle, like the muscles in your arms or legs, and it gets tired as it works harder, so there’s less power left over for other things.” And according to a study from the American Psychological Association, reducing the need to make decisions dramatically strengthens willpower.
Quite simply, habits stick when there’s no other alternative. So try to make a habit second nature by pairing down your options. For example, instead of wishing you’d eat better, spend your monthly food budget on healthy groceries for a few specific recipes.
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