Understanding how to build new habits and keep them for good is essential for overall growth and satisfaction in life.
When most people struggle to build new habits, they say something like, “I don’t have the motivation or willpower to do it.”
This is clearly the wrong approach and way of thinking.
Studies have shown that willpower is very much like a muscle. Over time, it will get fatigued, the more you use it throughout the day.
We all have a limited amount of willpower, so it is important for us to focus on building habits, rather than rely on willpower to get things done.
Once you have picked up a new habit and it has begun to stick, you no longer will need the willpower to push yourself to do it.
That is why it is important to make it easy enough that you can get your habits done without any motivation.
To help solve this problem, I’ve tried to break down three main principles for how to build and maintain your new habits.
Break habits into chunks
As you are slowly progress through your new habits, if you continue to add one percent extra each day, you will eventually find yourself progress very quickly over the next few months.
It is important to keep your new habits attainable, so that you can maintain strong momentum and make your new behaviours as easy as possible to do.
The power of tiny gains over time really works. So rather than trying to do something major with a new habit, start small and gradually improve over time.
Along the way, your willpower and motivation will increase, which will make it even easier for you to stick with your new habits.
For example, if you are looking to build a wider back and your goal is to do 20 pull ups a day, consider break it up into four sets of five and spread it throughout the day.
You could do five pull ups in the morning, five in the afternoon, five in the evening and five just before bed.
In this way, it will be much easier for you to make your way to the goal of 20 pull ups a day, rather than trying to do all 20 at once.
Get back on track quickly
No matter who you are, everyone makes mistakes and falls off track. The difference is that the successful ones know how to get back on track as fast as possible.
Past studies have shown that missing your habits once, no matter when it happens, has no measurable impact on your long term progress.
So rather than trying to be a perfectionist and getting everything right the first time, change your thinking and understand that it is okay to make mistakes and fail.
You shouldn’t expect to fail, but you should plan for failure.
Take time and think over what will prevent your new habits from happening. What are some things that may get in your way?
What are some daily challenges that can occur to pull you off track? How can you plan to work around these challenges? How can you bounce back fast enough from them and get back on the horse?
Remember, it is about consistency, not perfection. Focus on building yourself up to be something who never misses a habit twice.
As with any habit, you need to learn to be patient and pace yourself. Learning to be patient is probably one of the most important life skills of all.
You can make a lot of progress in any area of life, if you are consistent and patient.
For example, if you are at the gym and looking to train your chest, you should probably go slower than you think with adding on weights.
Always start with less than you can expect to handle. Patience in progress is everything. Do things that you can sustain.
New habits will always feel easy to start, especially at the beginning when you are all pumped up. It is staying on track over time, where most people fail.
If you stay consistent and steadily increasing your habits, you will see far more progress than trying to jump from zero to ten.