How to Build a Habit Effectively

You may have heard your parents or your teachers in school talking about the benefits of habits. From young, we are encouraged to take up and master habits like reading and waking up early. However, a majority of us never manage to take up these habits. In fact, we are given no clue by our schools as to how we should do so. Many of us lack the motivation to sustain these habits and eventually give up. So, you might ask, how do you even build a habit successfully? Why are some people able to remain interested in what they do? Don’t they get bored? In this post, I will be showing you what sets them apart from everyone else. Most of all, I will be showing you how you can build any habit of your choice effectively and easily. Before you continue reading, make sure to subscribe to the newsletter and follow me!

Tip #1: Make it Easy

Let’s say you want to master the habit of reading. If you know that you have a busy lifestyle and little time, you could aim to read just one page a day. Over time, you could scale it up to a chapter a day or even a book a day. This makes it easy for you to consistently read everyday, even when you feel unmotivated. Likewise, for all habits, make your habit easy to accomplish and free of pressure.

Tip #2: Be Consistent

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Of course, there might be days where we don’t feel like doing anything. You could have had a long day at work or a stressful day. We’ve all been there before. On these days, the majority of people would skip their habits. However, habits are built upon repetition. It is therefore important to ensure that you at least engage in your habit once a day. This builds upon Tip #1, where you should make your habit easy to accomplish. During such days, you could choose to let’s say read only a page a day or complete only 1 pushup a day. Using Tip #1, you will be able to be consistent even when you lack the motivation or willpower. However, there might be some days where we slipped or completely forgot about the habit. In these situations, it is important to get back on track as quickly as possible. As you do so, think about why you failed earlier and plan for the future. Was it your environment? Was it that your cues weren’t strong enough? Or did you just forget it completely?

Tip #3: Understand Your Environment

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A person’s environment inadvertently influences his/her feelings and thoughts. Likewise, when engaging in your habit, it is important to make your environment conducive for your selected habit. For example, if you are trying to build the habit of reading, you could find a quiet and calm place to read, such as a room or a cafe. This avoids distractions and ensures that you are in the mood for the activity. Alternatively, you could buy E-readers like the Kindle Oasis (check out my review of the Kindle Oasis at https://bestofwrite.com/2020/11/28/kindle-oasis-a-review/), which are devices made specifically made for reading and nothing more. Such devices help you to focus on your task at hand and avoid those notifications which scream for your attention.

Tip #4: Reward Yourself

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Habits are built around a reward system. The four stages of a habit is as follows: Cue, Craving, Response and Reward. Most habits have a long-term reward. Reading promises improved vocabulary while exercise promises better health and stamina. However, these long-term rewards are not very noticeable. So how do we ensure that we are motivated to repeat a certain activity again and again? The answer is the reward you place for yourself at the end of an activity or milestone achieved. For example, you could tell yourself, “If I finish this chapter today, I will eat my favourite snack.” These short-term rewards are the little things that will help to keep you going. Eventually, however, the completion of the habit itself will become the reward.