I have been all about habits lately. To me, good habits are the backbone of happiness and success in life. Without having or developing good habits, one simply won’t be able to find lasting happiness or success in their lives.
But have you ever asked yourself why it’s so hard to stick to good habits? And what are good habits in the first place? What habits should we be trying to stick to and what habits should we be trying to eliminate?
What Are Good Habits?
Good habits are habits that are going to improve various aspects of our lives while doing so in a healthy manner. Exercising regularly, reading every single day, socializing with others, showing up to work on time, saving a certain percentage of your income for an emergency fund – these are all examples of good habits.
Bad habits are ones such as eating due to feeling sad, smoking to relieve stress, or drinking to feel a buzz. While these habits provide relief and make you feel good for a moment of time, thee relief they provide is only temporary. In the long run, habits like these can negatively impact one’s emotional or physical health.
At whatever cost, avoid bad habits and try to establish only good habits.
Why Are Good Habits Hard To Stick To?
Humans love taking the easy way out for the sake of convenience. It doesn’t matter what it is, we love finding the easiest solution to all of our problems – even if that solution may not be in our best interest.
If you had the option of choosing the elevator or 10 flights of stairs, you would probably choose the elevator. Heck, you would probably choose the elevator instead of having to take one flight of stairs. Why? Because it’s easier. It doesn’t save you much time, but it is going to save you the physical energy.
If you had the option of watching a movie on your phone or going to a theatre to watch it, you would probably choose your phone. The viewing experience would be far less. In fact, the experience you would get from watching it on your phone would suck compared to the experience of a movie theatre. So why would you do it? Because it’s convenient and it’s going to require less demand from you.
What we don’t realize is that with a mindset like this, we are only digging our future selves a hole.
When it comes to habits, our initial motivation is usually the end result. We want the appearance, the status, the money, and the recognition. But why many have a difficult time sticking to good habits is because they haven’t taken into account the time and demand required to achieve these desires.
We have conditioned our minds to want as much as possible while having to work as little as possible for these wants. Once we see the time, commitment, and work that goes into maintaining good habits, we have somewhat of an “Oh shit,” moment and realize that we chewed off more than we can swallow. That’s why most of us have difficulties sticking to good habits.
How To Stick To Good Habits
So how do you actually stick to good habits? How do you prevent that “Oh shit” moment and set yourself up for success?
It sounds a lot easier said than done, and that’s because it’s true.
If you want to stick to good habits, you first need to change your identity. Let your identity motivate you towards your dreams and desires. Don’t say you simply want something. Envision yourself and identify yourself as somebody who has already achieved that desire. Changing your identity is going to help you stay focused on the end result you are setting out to achieve.
Once you have reshaped your identity, be realistic with yourself and factor in the time and energy that is going to be required of you to develop these new and improved habits. Do your research on how and how quickly others have completed their journeys and give yourself a realistic timeframe. When you are realistic with yourself from the beginning, you tend to avoid any surprises and are more likely to stay committed to maintaining the behaviors necessary to develop good habits.
The last thing you need to do is to focus on your dreams, but start small. This is where many of us fail before we even have the chance of getting started. We imagine whatever it is that we are wanting to achieve, but we spend all of our time and energy trying to find the perfect recipe that is going to require the least amount of effort and one that will ensure our success.
When we spend all of our time preparing, we are doing all but one thing – getting started. Getting started is the only way we are ever going to develop new habits. Without getting started, we will simply never cross the finish line.
It doesn’t matter how small you start, just make sure to start.
What Are Some Good Habits To Stick To & What Should You Do?
So what are some good habits you should follow?
Well, only you can answer that. What are some of the things you want to change about your life? Do you want to get healthier? Do you want to start saving money by eating at home more often? Do you want to start putting yourself out there and meeting new people?
Really there isn’t a right or a wrong answer as to what habits you should try to stick to, just as long as they are not harmful to your body, your mind, or to those around you. If they are harmful, they would be bad habits and you should avoid those at all costs.
If you want to get into the habit of exercising regularly, start by taking a lap around your neighborhood once a day for a week. When you can do that with ease, start increasing the distance.
If you want to get into the habit of making more meals at home, start by planning your meals out in advance and hanging the menu up on your fridge. Still allow yourself a day or two per week to eat out, but when you have a menu laid out, it helps to take away any of the indecisiveness you may be feeling.
If you want to start putting yourself out there, make it a point to meet somebody new on a weekly basis and build a relationship with that person. Have meaningful conversations, get to know them, get more comfortable with identifying yourself as a people-person.
Before You Go
Nothing worth having in life comes easy and nothing that comes easy is worth having – including habits. If you want to eliminate bad habits and develop good habits, commit to changing and realize that change is going to be a process. Don’t expect that you are going to eliminate bad habits and develop good habits overnight.
Be committed to long-term change and slowly but surely create a better life for yourself. Good habits may be hard to develop, but they are not impossible