Habit is not just activity, it shaped you into who you will become

Habit is something we regularly do in daily basis. Some of us don’t see habit as a crucial thing, the truth is a habit we have today will shape us to the person we will become in years.

In the future, you will be thankful for good things you do today, you will gain the benefit of habit you do today, no matter how small it is. Because change does not happen overnight, it happens through continuous small improvement we consistently do every day.

Habit to achieve a goal

In life, we are sure that we have a goal, either a short-term goal or a long-term goal. To reach a goal requires a set of effort to achieve it. We plan a program to achieve that, sometimes, after we achieve that, we don’t do the program anymore.

Take an example, you want to lose weight, so you cut your carbo intake, you eat healthy food and you run like never before, you hit the gym suddenly. These mad programs arguably last for weeks, also you tend to lose your willingness and feel frustrating before you even reach your goals because it is so hard.

even if you do succeed in doing that mad program, once you reach the body weight you want, you tend to back to the old habit because this one doesn’t feel good to do it. And once you back to your old habit, your body will get out of shape again.

Instead of doing that mad program, better doing it with a realistic doable activity that can be set as a new habit. Because it is much easier, doable, enjoyable, and the result will come and it will last longer.

We all know to lose weight is to run, some of us are willing to run just to lose weight. the problem is when our motivation is just to lose weight, we will feel stressed if we have run for weeks but we don’t see any result.

To prevent that we have to change our motivation in running, we have to see ourselves as a runner, not people who run to lose weight. Because both of them still running but people who see themselves as a runner not think too much about the result, they just love to run. No matter that they have reached their body weight goal or not, they will still run.

To achieve our goal to lose weight, our motivation is to be a runner and put running as a habit. (Sc: mymetabolicmeals.com)

How to build a habit

To set an activity to be a habit, it must suit all these criteria:

1. Make it obvious

To start a new habit, a promise is not enough. You need to plan it and do it with the exact time and location. Without planning specifically you only will postpone your start and perhaps never start anything at all.

Besides that, we have to build a supportive environment for our new habits. If we want to run more in the morning we have to put our running shoes near our room and prepare ourselves to run every morning.

2. Make it attractive

a habit should be attractive enough to make us willing to do that. To make a habit attractive you can choose an activity you can enjoy, also you can tolerate the struggle, and you are still willing to do it even on a hard day.

If you cannot enjoy the activity, try to bundle it with an activity you love. You make a rule to yourself that you’re allowed to do the thing you love only after you do the activity you should do (the habit you want to build).

The other method you can try is to join a community that suits your new activity. If you’re trying to make running every morning a habit, join a runner community so the activity will feel joyful because you share the energy together.

3. make it easy

the mistake people tend to do when creating a habit is the “all or nothing” mindset. We think that we need to do things perfectly or not doing it at all.

That’s why building a good habit always seems hard to start.

To start a new habit is to start with small. Don’t thrive for perfection. Just do it and take the first step. Make it as easy as it can be, so it will seem more doable.

If you are want to lose your weight by running, don’t start it with 5k run, because it’s hard for people that just started. No matter how big your willpower, it will be drained after few days. And no one guarantee, that method will last for long.

Instead of doing that, start with a simpler thing such as walk for a mile, because it’s much easier, the goal is not to run as far as you can, but to make sure you’re going out for a walk or run for straight 7 days a week. Once you can do it, you can improve your level by jog a little further, the next week you can increase your pace, and so on.

4. Make it satisfying

The reason why a bad habit is easy to be developed than a good habit is that a bad habit offers instant gratification. Doing a bad thing feels satisfying and our brain tells us to do it again because it feels satisfying.

Based on that theory we can make good habits satisfying so we are willing to do it again.

To make a good habit satisfying, we should reward ourselves with things we want for doing good habits, like rewarding yourself a new running gear after running for 2 weeks straight.

How to maintain a habit

Doing a certain positive activity is not hard, but make it as a habit is hard. because we feel obligated to do that every day, not only when we want it. Once we start to build a habit, we must be committed to the plan and we should do it no matter what happens.

Sticking to commitment is challenging, there are days where we feel motivated to continue the habit, and there are days where we feel unmotivated, when our energy is drained out or when the weather doesn’t support the activity. To keep the good habit continue, there is some trick to follow, they are:

1. Don’t miss twice

Missing once is okay but missing twice is never okay because it will ruin the momentum and to start doing things again will be harder because you have to build your motivation again from zero.

2. Point an accountability partner

Humans tend to learn from bad experiences and do whatever it takes to avoid the bad and painful experiences in the future.

To make you consistent in your plan then you have to make a system that leads you to an unfavorable situation if you miss your habit.

Point an accountability partner to sign an agreement with them that you will be punished if you miss your program. Such as you should pay a big amount of money if you miss your program. Losing money for nothing is painful, so you will make sure you don’t lose any money and choose to do your positive habit instead.

Building a good habit is a matter of system, to be successful in sticking to your habit you have to build a good system. If you’re failed in applying a habit then the problem is not in you, the problem is in the system you build. So instead of giving up on goals and your habit, try to fix the system. And approach it differently.

-> Conclusion

Building a good habit today will resulting in a significant impact on the future because changes don’t happen overnight. To build a good habit we should make the habit scheduled, easy to do, interesting to do and satisfying to do. Then we have to be consistent and committed to the habit we started.

This is a summary from Atomic Habits by James Clear

All writings are based on writer’s perspective.