Make a habit out of it! & How can I build habits?
Some people say you need 21 days to build a habit. Others say it takes 30 and yet others say 60 days. The time needed might not be the most important factor for building good habits. If you’ve ever tried to break a bad habit, like smoking, you might know what I’m talking about. Saying goodbye to old routines, like having a cigarette with a cup of coffee or after a meal, can be really challenging. However, it’s not impossible! So, adapting and building new good habits is just as possible.
I’ve just started reading a brilliant book about building habits called Atomic Habits* by James Clear. It’s available on Amazon and if you want to buy it, you can use the affiliate link*. If you’d like more information about the author then check out his website here. James even gives you the possibility to download a free chapter of his book. This book is full of useful advice, which can help everyone build good habits and break bad ones. I recommend you check it out for yourself, as I haven’t finished it yet.
Nonetheless, here are a few useful tips and insights on what you need to have and to do in order to build habits:
This trait helps all of us through any kind of situation. I’ll admit it’s difficult to remain patient when you’re pressed for time. In such situations, taking a few deep breaths usually helps. You need to be patient with yourself. Giving yourself a hard time will make you feel miserable and won’t get you on track. After all, Rome wasn’t built in a day and neither is a good habit.
Keep it doable
This is why you’ll need patience with yourself. Most of us tend to overestimate ourselves and then try to go too fast. As an example, let’s say you want to improve your English skills. You know the best way to do that is to practice regularly, preferably on a daily basis. Decide on the doable amount of time you will spend on building this habit. I recommend ten minutes, which can be split into two five-minute periods if you cannot manage the ten minutes per day. James even suggests cutting it down to even smaller time frames, at least for the beginning.
When I started building my exercise habit, I blocked time for it in my calendar. I knew if I did that, I’d get it done. Plan the habit you want to build. Have you ever felt a satisfying sensation of crossing out a task on your to-do list? Then you will feel a similar sensation when you track your habit. You can do this in your calendar or you make a habit tracker in your journal. If you do miss a day, make sure it’s only once and not twice.
This is not always easy. But, if you stay focussed on your goal and visualise the result you want to achieve, it will keep you on track. Having an accountability buddy can be very helpful, especially if you have the same goal. It helped me a lot when I gave up smoking. Another possibility is to tell your friends about your goal. They will ask you how you are progressing and by doing that you’ll have more than one accountability buddy.
Personally, I believe this is the most important factor. At least it is for me. Ask yourself: “How much do you really want to achieve your goal?” Then answer the question: “What is stopping you?” Time limitations? No. Set your priorities and face the truth: you are stopping yourself. What are you waiting for? Go for it.
Celebrate your achieved steps, no matter how small they are. Be proud of yourself for sticking to your plan. Once you’ve achieved a milestone like 21, 30 or 60 days in a row, you should be seeing some results. At this stage, your results will start to become your biggest motivation.
Now these aspects are guidelines. They apply to all areas in life. It doesn’t matter which habit you want to build. There is one thing you should consider if you fail. Possibly you tried the wrong approach. Let’s say you want to read more, but you just do not enjoy reading. Maybe you enjoy listening. Then grab the audio version. Find your way to make building a good habit enjoyable and you will have implemented your new habit into your everyday life with ease.
Which habit are you integrating?
Are you thinking of refreshing your English skills on a daily basis? But you’re not sure how to do that? Well, your worries are over. Yvette and I have come up with a 24-day habit creator calendar. As this post is going online end of November, it’s called Your English Advent Calendar. Some information is Christmas themed.
The positive aspects of this 24 day calendar are, it’s:
- Free of charge
- Doable as your tasks will only take a few minutes
- Daily and conveniently delivered to your email in-box
- Accountability is provided, if you want it, in a secret Facebook group or by posting your daily tasks on Instagram using the #yeac2018
- Educational as each email contains useful bits of information in English (e.g. useful vocabulary, cultural information, writing tips & more!)
- Motivational because if you stick to it and you post your daily task in the group or on Instagram, you have the chance of winning a prize
What you have to do to:
- Don’t miss the opportunity
- Decide to try it out
- Sign up here
- Enjoy it!
Of course, you can just schedule a call with me too. Click here to schedule a call now!
Would you like to have a habit tracker? You can download one here, which you can print out or just keep as a pdf document.
PS Sign up for the calendar here.