Developing good habits is the perfect way to make positive changes in your life. We all have things we want to improve about ourselves, our work, and our daily routines. Some are business related, such as organizing your daily workload better, or returning client calls within a certain timeframe. Others may be health related, such as eating better, exercising more or quitting smoking. Yours may be entirely different.
From tips for creating good habits to maintaining momentum once you’ve started working on one, here’s your guide to developing good habits.
- Keep It Simple
One of the biggest challenges people have with making habits stick is that they try to do too much. That’s why our tips for good habits include starting small and going with simple changes to your daily routine.
For example, let’s say that you want to improve your turnaround time for returning client calls. Right now, you feel like your work flow is always being interrupted because you’re returning calls off and on throughout the day. You want to organize your time a little better and establish times throughout the day for calls. Setting a turnaround time of an hour or two might be difficult to maintain, so try establishing a block of time, perhaps an hour, each morning and afternoon. This gives you a little flexibility when other things come up and will keep you from feeling like you’ve missed your mark.
- Commit to 21 Days to Create a Habit
There’s a popular myth out there that it takes 21 days to create a habit, but it is just that…a myth that gained popularity and ended up becoming a “widely accepted theory.” You can actually form a habit in more or less time than that.
Still, 21 days is a good initial goal. It’s long enough that you can adapt to a new routine, but close enough that you can reach it by staying dedicated for only a couple weeks.
After you hit that 21-day mark, you’ll probably have formed that new habit. Even if your habit takes a bit longer to stick, those 21 days will get you off to a great start.
- Work on Your New Habit Every Day
Turning a behavior into a habit is all about maintaining momentum. The best way to keep it rolling is to make the behavior an everyday activity.
It’s harder to create a habit if you only do the activity every couple of days. Consider a situation where you’re trying to read more. If you focus on reading for at least 10 minutes every day, it’s much easier to build momentum than if you tried to read 30 minutes every other day. Working on something every day helps it become consistent for you.
When you start developing a habit, you may need to force yourself to do it each day. The more days you do it in a row, the more natural it will become. It might help to keep it noted on your calendar so you can easily track your progress. Keep at it, aim for that 21 days and you’ll have your new habit before you know it.