Live Better: Work Better: Feel Better: Create Habits that Work

Habits compound. Meaning the number of times you do even the tiniest habit will have a HUGE impact on your life.

And that is the KEY to habit building.

REPETITION.

Repeat the habit OVER AND OVER until it becomes AUTOMATIC.

And the easiest way to form a habit is to START SMALL.

Take, for example, our beliefs. Changing a belief is possible if we were to “fake it till we make it” enough times.

Whether you say what you’d rather believe out loud, write it down, or repeat it over and over again in your head, the number of times you do so will change the wiring in your brain enough, so that it becomes part of who you are.

This is also how goals and habit building work together. Doing one little extra thing, many many times, has a profound effect on progress.

Because, essentially, PROGRESS is dependent on PROCESS.

The WAY you accomplish a goal matters way more than the goal itself, even if it seems you’re barely doing anything at all.

So how do habits work?

Triggers in our environment lead to desires in our brains that then make us want to make a change. This is how habits, even the ones we don’t want, are formed:

A TRIGGER leads to a DESIRE, which results in a REACTION that becomes a BEHAVIOR.

Or as James Clear puts it in his book, Automic Habits:

CUE —> CRAVING —> REACTION = HABIT

Also, human motivation is fueled by ease more than willpower. Meaning we will respond to the “path of least effort” more effectively than the “path of difficulty.”

So in order to make a habit stick, we need to make sure what we do is

SUPER EASY.

We can do this by making our triggers super OBVIOUS, by putting them right in front of our faces.

So, let’s say you want to write “To-Do lists” at the beginning of your work days.  Making this OBVIOUS would look like setting a notebook on your computer the night before, so when you approach your desk the next day, you’re reminded to make a To-Do List.

The notebook on top of the desk is the cue, and because it’s right there in front of your face, you are pretty likely to do it.

Another way to make a habit stick is to make it so ATTRACTIVE you can’t help but do it.

Our brains love rewards, so if we were to pair the desired habit with an attractive reward, our brains will eventually associate that habit with good feelings which will make us want to keep doing it.

So, let’s say we love watching Netflix. Watching Netflix is something we LOVE to do every day. If we were to pair watching Netflix with working out for 30 minutes, then we’ll be more motivated to exercise so we can watch our beloved Netflix shows.

Earlier we talked about making things EASY, but how do we exactly do that?

Break down any task into a version that is SO EASY it would be silly not to do it.

Think, 2 minutes. For 2 minutes, anybody can do anything, right?

Let’s say you want to run in the mornings. If you were to break this down into a 2-minute version, this could mean putting your running clothes on right after getting out of bed. That’s it.

Weird right? It doesn’t even start with actually going on a run, because the point is to get you started.

Getting started is our biggest obstacle, so starting with a 2-minute goal will propel us over that initial resistance and will likely inspire us to keep going at least a little bit longer.

Our brains are wired to thrive on SATISFYING experiences. We want to feel SUCCESSFUL. So, if we can make any action SATISFYING by having a small sense of accomplishment, we are that much more likely to put in the reps, make the behavior automatic, and have more energy to do more of what we want.

Let’s recap: How to Create Habits that Work

  1. MAKE IT OBVIOUS: put the cues that trigger the behaviors right in front of your face.
  2. MAKE IT ATTRACTIVE: make the desired behavior extremely attractive by linking it to something you want to be doing.
  3. MAKE IT EASY and SATISFYING: make the desired behavior so easy to do that it would be silly not to do it. Start SMALL so you can feel SUCCESSFUL right away.
  4. PUT IN THE REPS: repetition is key. Do the action over and over again until it’s second nature. Once you have that down, you’ll have so much more brain space to do more of what you want!

Ember Blackfox

Back To Insights

Recent Insights