Habits are the key. Your habits determine how much money is in your bank account and the size of your waistline. Your habits determine the quality of your life.
It can seem impossible to break bad habits or to create new, positive habits. Most people have an ineffective approach. They try to go cold turkey and rely on willpower to force the necessary changes.
You already know this doesn’t work unless you’re incredibly motivated, and motivation isn’t reliable. It’s here one day and gone the next.
Create new habits more effectively by avoiding the most common mistakes:
1. Changing too much, too soon. A new habit is best installed in baby steps. If you want to spend two hours each day writing your novel, start with a single sentence each day. One sentence accomplishes something exciting: it gets you in the habit of sitting down and writing when it’s time to write. That’s the most important first step.
2. Relying on self-discipline. If your habit requires self-discipline, it won’t last. At most, self-discipline should only be required to make a habit of getting started. Habits are automatic. Self-discipline isn’t required to eat a candy bar or watch TV for most of us. If you have a habit of going to the gym, self-discipline isn’t required for that either.
3. Expecting a new habit to be easy to install. Change isn’t easy. You’ll become complacent and lazy if you expect a new habit to be easy to implement. We’d all be rich, in shape, and speak five languages if creating new habits were a simple matter.
4. Expecting a new habit to be difficult to install. The opposite is also true. If you expect the process to be exceptionally difficult, you’ll also struggle. The thought of doing anything that’s hard can be sufficient reason to never get started in the first place.
5. Relying too much on information. Our society is blessed, or cursed, with access to an excessive amount of information. This can create two challenges:
Dropping your negative habits and adding new, supportive habits is the key to changing your circumstances. Unfortunately, our instincts about change are incorrect.
Tiny changes are easy to implement and build upon. But this approach requires patience and the belief that it can work. Remember: small changes add up to big results.
Avoid the most common mistakes when attempting to add a new habit to your life and you’ll find greater success in adding habits that make a positive impact on your life.