Here are five things I’ve found to be super helpful in establishing new habits.
Make them visible
I have a few key habits that I like to do every day. Eat paleo, eat within an 8 hour window, consume roughly 2K calories, drink 3 litres of water, take my vitamins, and reach out to a couple of people.
I write them at the top of my daily planning page. This forces me to look at them frequently throughout the day – increasing my chances of sticking to them. It also encourages me to reflect on how I did, more than I would otherwise.
Don’t break the chain
I heard about the Seinfeld Strategy from James Clear. It’s surprisingly effective.
It’s as simple as having a wall calendar, and marking an X for every day you stick to your habit. It becomes very addictive to grow the chain, and not break it.
I use this for moderating how much alcohol I drink. I’m aiming for a once a week, with a two drink limit. And for the most part, it’s helping me stay on track.
I used to struggle to drink enough water. Then, one day I randomly decided to drink two 500ml bottles of water as the first thing I did after waking. It was a game changer. Not only did it put me at 33% of my daily goal within minutes – it also changed my behaviour. It was really easy to drink a 500ml bottle in one go. So, I just down a 500ml bottle of water each time I want a drink now. And I have the opposite problem – not going too far over 3 litres of water a day!
One at a time
It’s REALLY hard to try and establish multiple habits at the same time. Yet, it’s so easy to fall into this trap.
Be disciplined and pick one. Nail it properly, and then pick another. Trust me, there is plenty of time. If you successfully establish a handful of new habits per year, you’ll transform your life every year.
I’ve lost count of the times I’ve tried to establish really ambitious habits straight away. Inevitably, I do it for a few days (a few weeks at best), but then fall off the wagon.
Want to drink 3 litres of water a day? Start with a glass. Want to eat healthily every day? Start with just breakfast. Etc.
Then, once you’ve got these small new habits established, you can step it up from there.