While many like to argue, you can’t teach an old dog new tricks, the truth is anyone can choose to start a positive and healthy habit today. While it may require self-discipline and drive, we can alter the course of our lives simply by making new choices leading to better outcomes.
In a recent Entrepreneur.com article, author and entrepreneur James Clear shares “5 Steps to Building a New Habit.” Here we share the first three of those steps:
- Start with an incredibly small habit. Willpower is not something that can be activated upon command. As Clear explains, “Research shows that willpower is like a muscle. It gets fatigued as you use it throughout the day. Another way to think of this is that your motivation ebbs and flows. It rises and falls.” This stands to reason that if you can exercise your willpower with a small habit, you can build to bigger habits as that willpower gains strength.
- Increase your habit in very small ways. Clear demonstrated this concept well in his article on the power of one percent. Small, incremental increases (and decreases, should we choose) can have a profound impact. The aggregation of marginal gains can be seen in both our personal and professional lives. Jim Rohn said, “Success is a few simple disciplines, practiced every day; while failure is simply a few errors in judgment, repeated every day.”
- As you build up, break habits into chunks. It can be difficult to tackle a bigger habit at one time. Clear suggests breaking a larger habit into smaller, more manageable habits. For example, if you want to exercise for 30 minutes a day, perhaps you can begin by excising 15 minutes, twice a day. Once your willpower and stamina improve, you can perform those two habits back to back, finally making that bigger habit a part of your daily routine.
It’s important that we continually seek to improve our lives, and that can be accomplished by replacing poor habits with good ones. Deciding that you will make the change is just the first step. Following that choice with these three steps can ensure that you’re on your way to an improved life based on positive and healthy habits.
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Clear, James. “5 Steps to Building a New Habit.” 30 July 2014 Entrepreneur.com