Building Sustainable Habits
By definition a habit is a routine or behaviour that tends to occur subconsciously, new behaviours can become automatic through the process of habit formation. The researchers at Duke University states that habits can make up for up to 40% of our behaviours at any given day. Learning how to build good long-lasting habits is extremely important at reaching success in health, fitness, happiness, and life in general.
I have compiled a few simple steps I use regularly to build good habits which I would like to share with you below;
For your first habit I would recommend starting small, now this will differ for everyone. We all have willpower but as we now know, willpower is like a muscle it fatigues and can be difficult to sustain at times. What we want to do here to avoid this decision fatigue is make your habit small enough were you will do it 9/10 times’, such as taking your vitamins in the morning. You want to remember our willpower is always rising and falling throughout the day so do not allow yourself to be in the unfortunate position of having a hard task at hand which you will skip and will result in you falling off the wagon.
‘Make it so easy you can’t say no’.
Next, you will want to gradually increase your habits in small manageable steps. Once you have mastered your habit, taking smaller steps will help you adapt to thus new habit without feeling over your head and not managing the new behaviour. Being patient here and understanding that 1% better each day equates to a large change overtime. For example, if you are currently doing 5 push ups, slightly increasing to 6/7 will be achievable rather than attempting 10 reps.
As your habit grows larger, you will begin to break this habit down into smaller more manageable habits. Sometimes depending on your goal these habits can grow and seem to be daunting or too time consuming and not doing your behaviour will seem justifiable. For example, instead of going trying to hit 10,000 steps in one walk, would doing 2-3 smaller walks be easier? And giving yourself a whole day to hit your target.
Be prepared for failures, the problem is people tend to avoid these issues and have an all or nothing approach. Get rid of that once you fail your goal is to get back on track as soon as possible. Being consistent is the goal it’s not the perfection of the goal. Be aware of some daily barriers you might face and be prepared to overcome them.
Be patient this is probably the best skill you can have in your arsenal. The ability to be patient and consistent will reap tones of rewards. New habits at the begging should feel easy, but they get hard enough, fast enough it always happens. The pace at which you will achieve goals is slower than you will anticipate, being patient will help you achieve those goals in the longer term. I would recommend reading Atomic Habits by James Clear for more information on habits, you will not regret it.
Now is a great time a start.