How to Start a Good Habit52 Weeks of Habits

May19

The method for adopting a new good habit builds off of the method for changing an old bad habit. Remember the habit changing method:

  1. Figure out what the cue of the habit is
  2. Figure out what reward you’re getting from the habit
  3. Find a new way to respond to that cue that will provide you with a similar reward

This can be very easily tweaked to create a system for creating a new habit that you really want. The main difference is that you wont know exactly what the reward is, so you’ll either have to create or find one.

  1. Decide what habit you’d like to develop
  2. Identify something in your environment that could spark that habit
  3. Commit to yourself that you’ll do this new routine as a response to that cue. Enforcement mechanisms (ways to urge or make yourself do it) help a lot
  4. Feel great! Mentally reward yourself for your success

Here’s an example. Say you want to get into the habit of going to the gym regularly. It’s hard to sit at home by your computer and go “okay, I’m going to the gym now.” You might do it once or twice, but it likely won’t become a habit because there’s no salient cue. Using the method, here’s a better way:

  1. You’ve decided you want to get into the habit of going to the gym
  2. Find something else regularly on your schedule (class? work? meal?) and say “next time I leave that, I’ll go to the gym.
  3. When you next leave for that appointment, put all of your gym gear in your car. Maybe take your pre-workout supplement early. Whatever you can do to help you commit to yourself.
  4. Go to the gym, and feel great!

On the weeks where I talk about developing a new habit from scratch, this is likely the method I’ll use. I hope you find it useful as well!

 

 

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