Sometime in April 2020, I decided to build a community by sending a newsletter once a week. I was trying to start a new habit. And I quickly discovered how difficult it can be to build a lasting habit.
Perhaps you have been there before too. Or you are there now. Building a new habit is as hard as breaking a bad one.
Remember the last time you tried starting a new habit or breaking an old one? How did that go? Let me guess: you probably quit in the third week or the second month. I know how that feels: we’ve all been there before.
But what if there’s are simple yet effective steps you can follow to build lasting habits. The habit could be in any aspect of your life: family, health, finances work. Perhaps you want to exercise regularly, write daily, speak to your parents weekly or save 10% of your income.
The good news is it’s possible. Now, I send a newsletter every week. If my lazy self can do it, so can you. Read on to discover how experts build habits that last and how I did it too.
Do this to remove the first barrier
The first step to building lasting habits is to choose a certain place and time to do that thing. This simple commitment removes the first barrier of indecision. It compels you to act.
If it’s a daily habit, choose a time of the day and preferred place. For a weekly activity, pick a certain day of the week too.If it’s a daily habit, choose a time of the day and preferred place. For a weekly activity, pick a certain day of the week too. Click To Tweet
In my own example, I write my newsletters by 4 pm on Sunday at my home desk. And I deduct my savings once I receive my monthly (or any) income.
Deciding where to slot your habit into your day/week at every instance is too much stress. It discourages building a habit, much less a lasting one. It’s way easier to act when you know you do that particular thing at time T in Place P.
Take out the guesswork and wavering. To paraphrase James Clear, if it’s already decided, you only have to show up. So, when and where is it going to be?
Here’s how to keep going after starting
To sustain that new habit, invest in better sources of information. You might be wondering what’s the connection. I explain that in the next few paragraphs.
When trying to build a lasting habit, you need to fill your mind with the right information. This helps you get the mental bandwidth to sustain the habit. For one, knowing the benefits of the new habit alone can inspire constancy.
With better information sources, you can create the kind of environment that makes the habit less of a chore. Quality information removes obstacles to habit formation while also arming you with resources for consistency.
If you want to exercise regularly, information on the best workout equipment, time, diet, etc will do you much good. And when building a writing habit, better information sources will arm you with effective writing tools, tips, etc.With better information sources, you can create the kind of environment that makes the habit less of a chore. Quality information removes obstacles to habit formation while also arming you with resources for consistency. Click To Tweet
And what happens in the absence of proper information? A junk-filled body will have trouble exercising. Likewise, a mind steeped in poor thoughts can neither think well nor create well.
So, invest your time and money in quality information henceforth.
The final step that guarantees consistency
Now, you’ve started the habit. And you’re beginning to settle in rhythm after some weeks or even months. But the coast is not clear yet. You can’t be confident the habit will last just yet.
One last step to secure consistency: stick to an empowering explanation.
The same events can be explained in different ways. You’ll find evidence of how the world is inspiring you if that’s what you seek. Similarly, if you’re searching for proof of how life weighs you down, you’ll find them aplenty.You’ll find evidence of how the world is inspiring you if that’s what you seek. Similarly, if you’re searching for proof of how life weighs you down, you’ll find them aplenty. Click To Tweet
It’s up to you to pick an explanation that enables you.
I consider every event that happens to me as a part of my story towards success. I picture them in that light. Someone else might picture those experiences otherwise—in a negative light.
Dear friend, you may let your experiences inspire you to lasting habits. Or you may offer them as easy excuses to break those habits at the slightest opportunity. The explanation you pick decides whether or not you attain that much-coveted consistency.
Here’s to how build lasting habits: choose a certain time T and a place P, invest in better information sources and stick to an empowering explanation.Here’s how to build lasting habits: choose a certain time T and a place P, invest in better information sources and stick to an empowering explanation. Click To Tweet
You can do this. It’s in you.