Trying to Create a Good Habit? 3 Tips to Help You Stick with It
There are so many ways to get distracted from our best intentions these days. So many of us wake up vowing to eat well, get all our work done, and spend more time with friends and family, but wind up sidetracked by distractions like social media.
So, what is it that keeps us from creating and sticking to good habits? Today, I’ll share some of my thoughts on creating good habits, as well as some interesting information I just discovered about procrastination, and why we avoid tackling the things that we seem to want most.
Why Do We Procrastinate?
So many people assume that procrastination has been influenced by the rise of the Internet and online culture. It’s a popular position to take, especially among older adults. It’s easy to blame social media, and insist that a corresponding rise in procrastination has accompanied the growth of the Internet. This simply isn’t true.
Procrastination has nothing to do with being lazy, being distracted, or lacking self-control. Researchers have discovered that it has much more to do with our inner psychology and mental health. Many procrastinators are perfectionists, who would rather push off doing a task if they fear they won’t be able to do it well. Procrastination also has a lot to do with anxiety – research has shown that procrastinators often have low levels of self-esteem, high anxiety, and often become fixated on negative thoughts.
Creating Good Habits
It’s much easier to create good habits when we have a clear view of ourselves, and why it can be so difficult to stick with new tasks. Regardless of what we want to accomplish, it’s so much easier when we approach it realistically.
Here are three tips you should keep in mind when you set out to accomplish your goals.
1. Set realistic goals
It’s easy to attempt a lofty, unrealistic habit, but these huge goals can be challenging to stick with. Instead, focus on setting goals that are:
- Specific: Do you know what you want to achieve? Can you name it in one sentence?
- Measurable: How will you know when you’ve succeeded?
- Achievable: Is this goal realistic for your schedule, means, and abilities?
- Relevant: Is this goal useful or helpful to your life?
- Timely: When do you want to complete this goal?
Setting yourself goals that don’t conform to these five elements is a recipe for failure.
2. Make it routine
The easiest way to stick with good habits is to incorporate them into immovable parts of your daily routine. Want to start flossing? Put the floss right beside your toothbrush. Trying to get into a journaling habit? Make a plan to journal for at least five minutes every day as soon as you come home from school.
By tying the new habit into an existing part of your everyday routine, it becomes less stressful and easier to do regularly.
3. Start small and build up
James Clear is an expert in habits and decision making, and one of his best pieces of advice is to make your new habit “so easy you can’t say no”. This means starting small, with just a few minutes of your new habit a day. Then, once you’re more familiar with the routine, you can increase the difficulty.