“To develop great habits, you need time, effort, and planning.”
Habits at their very core is what defines who we are as a person. They’re picked up by the people that we meet and who we spend most of our time with as well. At the end of the day, what can help us live the positive life is a set number of habits that we need in order to get there.
Now these particular habits vary from person to person, with a few similar habits thrown in there that I’ve talked about at various times. But what doesn’t vary is the steps that are taken in order to develop them.
Mind you there are still other methods, but they don’t change much in function. I’ll explain in a bit.
Point is, as much as knowing what these habits are helpful, how do you properly develop them so they stick? Because even though there are many great habits, you don’t see other people practicing them.
To Develop Great Habits
It takes time, effort, and some planning and many people can’t be bothered about it. Part of that is because they live around a fast paced society where one exchanges time for money. So it’s instinct that practicing a habit could be too difficult because you lack time.
But the reality is that we all have plenty of time to develop habits. It’s a matter of mindset. Regardless of who you hang around you can develop great habits when you have a proper structure. Mind you it’s easier once you change the quality of your friends. As Joe Polish once said (and I’m paraphrasing here):
“You want some free advice? You’re a loser because you spend time with loser friends. You become successful when you hang around successful people.”
The first step to develop great habits is to plan. Naturally you don’t want to plan too much as you’ll spend too much time planning and not doing anything else. But planning is still crucial.
Remember why many people don’t practice these great habits? It’s because they don’t have a plan. They pick and choose what sounds nice to them, maybe try it out, and then give up. It’s like buying gym memberships around new years: the concept is great, but people start to lose interest.
They lack a why, but they also don’t have goals revolving around it. There’s no incentive. They’re not even setting real expectations.
Related video: Why Setting Expectations Can Help You Grow [Video]
So through planning, you are creating that incentive. Whether that’s defining a why or researching what kind of exercises work best for you, you’re hyping yourself up. Furthermore if the plan is solid and you have various “checkpoints” (think nemonic CIRCA), you won’t overwhelm your brain.
By planning, you are overcoming one of the largest hurdles, your brain. As I’ve said before our brain is a powerful thing that can allow us to do anything. But it also prevent us from doing anything too. That decision is up to you.
Be Patient And Consistent
The second aspect of this is to continuously follow through with your plan. Yes it’s repetitive, but that’s the point with a habit. A habit is something that you love to do and continue to repeat that pattern. As such, in the development of a great habit you need to force yourself.
Again this gets easier if you hang around people already doing this. It’s a lot easier to go to the gym if you spend time around people who frequent it often. The same applies to wealth and everything else.
But the other aspect is to be patient with this process. To develop great habits takes time. This all varies from person to person, but research shows it takes an average of 66 days to develop a habit. So you need to remind yourself what it is that you’re doing and what is pushing you towards this habit.
Above all, be patient with the process. These things take time.
Progress Through Effort
The last aspect of this plan is to take effort into this. Once more, this shouldn’t be a huge problem if you have a compelling reason. When you have a why, you are deeply motivated to your core. If you’re not motivated in that form, you need a different why.
I’m not saying you need to constantly give 110% here. When you care about the habits you have and who you are, you’ll have a vested interest in yourself. You’re not just coasting through life and accepting what happens to you. When you face difficulties developing that habit you ask yourself why this is happening? You don’t brush it off as a one-off thing.
Effort can be shown in a variety of ways. Naturally the biggest one is actually doing the habit you want to develop. However there can be more incentives:
- Perhaps make a journal and write about it every week (Here’s my latest entry of #BetterMeNow). Or;
- You can set a goal every week or month you want to achieve.
Again that’s all determined in the planning part. But the effort is actually following through with them.
Once you get into the headspace that you need to create something, you might be more vested in yourself.
Seeing This In Motion
This may not sound like all that much of a plan to develop great habits, but have faith. I didn’t label these as step 1,2, and 3 first off. Honestly you can kind of pick and choose with what to tackle first.
But one thing is certain: having these three “steps” will help you immensely. A good example of this is me. You may not know this, but I have a post every Sunday called #BetterMeNow. What I do with this is I develop a habit or a way of life and talk about the progress. In this case, it’s the habit of exercising and getting an ideal body.
This plan has these three things in it. Although it still is a challenge to develop the habit, looking back to when I started, there’s a difference.
So let’s see it in motion.
In the planning stage I told myself a target weight, what exercises I’ll be doing, and for how long. I’m working out from home instead of a gym.
That’s not an excuse to skip out exercising. You could also invest in good quality gear and do it from home. There is always a way around every problem that you face.
But what’s also important is your incentives. What’s really going to make you follow through. Although a gym membership would encourage me to work out often because I spent money, I believe there can be more powerful reasons. My incentive is the desire for a toned body.
Ever since I was younger I wanted to achieve this. However when I was younger I body shamed myself constantly and had to get over that hurdle. I needed to embrace myself and accept myself, but also to give myself a deeper incentive to working out.
I had asked myself “Why do I want to be fit?”. The answer was my incentive. Since then, I still get on my case to work out. Not to mention I also have a goal revolving around it.
No doubt I’ve been at this for years so what I’m doing now isn’t different from what I’ve done in the past. But clearly I’m patient with it. I realize the challenge that it’s harder to lose weight once you get older, but that’s not a reason to give up.
It means I need to push myself. Yes, bide your time and be patient, but again, be consistent with all this. What is allowing me to be consistent is the regular reminder of my why. Furthermore what creates more incentive is the creation of this weekly journal.
Because I’m actively writing something every week on the progress of my health, it’s forcing me to experiment, but also to continue developing this habit.
Lastly is actually following through with all this. It’s there where for myself I notice that things have changed.
Like I said before, in order to develop great habits you need to work hard. What I’m developing is still something I struggle with as well. However it’s through my effort where I notice a considerable difference. When I gained all that weight back, at the beginning I made no effort to change it. That was a few years ago now.
But today even when I’m not exercising, I’m getting on my case. I stopped just dreaming of being fit and actually taking steps. This journal and my why are an incentive to workout. After all, I care about you, my audience. I want to help you. So I first need to help myself so I could relay my message back to you.
That’s really where you see it all come together. By following through with my plan consistently, and being patient, I am showing effort and growth in the development of a habit.
You Got This!
Develop great habits much like this. I created #BetterMeNow as a way for people to get pumped up about it. We can be better people when we have a strong reason to better ourselves.
It’s not a matter of being perfect or flawless or having extensive experience. I know I’m one to talk about nutrition when I myself am unfit. But the fact that I’m putting in effort and changing every day because of that is worth noting.
I encourage you all, follow through with those steps and see what can happen. I know for myself it made a difference. From someone dreaming and not taking action to now reminding myself actively and following through,
To your growth!
Eric S Burdon