You wake up in the morning – first, it is the shower then coffee, with or without breakfast, and off you go driving to work.
Later that morning – you are already fully in the midst of it all at work when a nagging thought emerges, “Did I lock the front door on the way out?”
Well, you don’t worry a great deal – you don’t remember much of your commute to work either and yet you made it to the office after all.
You would probably manage to complete a dozen things till noon and all of them done while you were kind of being on autopilot. This is what a habit is like – a subconscious behavior that requires little thought or effort.
How to use the system of “Goal Buddy” in such a way that you build up a set of good practices to replace the not so good ones? You can find out here in this article which is on the topic of routines as a powerful strategy for achieving goals.
What’s a habit
Anything we do on a regular basis – often and without being fully aware of it. That’s one definition for it. According to some research, something like half of our activities in life are such.
There are two types – conscious and unconscious.
The former are easier to deal with, while the later require focused effort to identify. You must first have a careful look at yourself and then analyze the way you use your time during the day. After that, you can start on with the corrective actions.
Is the role of good habits overblown?
It is a popular topic of late how successful people organize their lives on a daily basis. There is a constant stream on the internet of ready-made recipes what to do in order to put those same practices to a good use in the name of a better future for yourself.
There is this misconception that a daily routine is a necessary and sufficient condition for success. It’s true but that’s only half of the story.
What’s the link to success
Our routines are of fundamental essence because they are a necessary condition for success in achieving our objectives. However, they are not a sufficient condition when applied alone and by themselves.
Their impact on your behavior is beyond doubt. It could be a driving force or, on the contrary, a drag. The useful ones are those that save you time and energy and once settled into your daily schedule they will be a worthy asset for life.
Therefore it’s no coincidence that some goal setting methods aim at building a good practice only. For some of them, it is not only a powerful tool but also the ultimate objective.
We don’t go that far.
Habits in “Goal Buddy”
They are part of our system, a vital part of it which is also an indispensable instrument. We see it as this:
You have a long-term vision for each aspect of your life.
You progress toward it using strategies like the 90-day action goals. These could be two types:
- One time goals of the project type. They are different in each consecutive period but usually are interconnected and build upon each other.
- Habit forming goals. They aim at building up a habitual practice within 3 months. If it happens on the first try then great, if not then you make it your priority for the next 90 days.
How does “Goal Buddy” help here?
Stage 1. Building one
The beneficial role of “Goal Buddy” is in this initial stretch. It’s the hardest since strong will and self-discipline are required. This is how to proceed:
Before all else, the goal must be articulated exclusively for the purpose of acquiring a new way of behaving. You act the same way as with all other objectives: set up a three month period and employ the small weekly steps to gradually reinforce the new routine. You have to do everything you committed to and do it in the strictest manner possible. At the end is the breakdown of it – what worked out for you and what didn’t.
Your “Buddy” will be with you all the way may that be by asking the correct question or simply by being a moral support.
But let’s not forget these 3 months! What and how do we want to happen during this period?
It takes time to build a good habit
The question is how much time. There is no clear-cut answer here. Plus, different people rely on different approaches.
We are no gurus when it comes to a healthy lifestyle but we will share with you how we implement our vision, and most importantly the timetable of it. There will be helpful illustrations from our own experience how we integrated objectives and habits.
90 days of building a habit (Niki)
Why don’t we say that you aim at attaining the instinct for exercising 3 times a week? This makes for a total of 36 times when you put on your sneakers on in the next 90 days. So, your weekly step is, in fact, to go to the gym at least 3 times within a single week.
If you keep a diary then you will be able to go back page by page to see and analyze your mistakes and, subsequently, to devise countermeasures.
30 consecutive days (Ivan)
Or you can try out this other method called “Don’t break the chain”. It is based on the assumption that an action becomes a habit when it is iterated daily and not just few times a week. But you have to do it for 30 days in a roll. There is a catch though – if the chain gets broken then you are required to start from scratch. It is a strict rule but it will keep you in check.
In addition, there is this simple trick you may want to know about if you are to be unwavering in this endeavor of successfully getting yourself a brand new habit.
Make it so easy that it will become also impossible to give up.
Formulate the objective in such a way that the habit forming act must be absolutely feasible – it must be done with no effort of will whatsoever. For example, for 30 days you do only one push up or floss just one tooth.
There is a two-fold purpose. For one, you quickly get used to it in a very natural way. The reason is that it is so effortless that it is impossible for you to be pushed outside of your comfort zone by the task.
You will be in for a pleasant surprise with what comes next – soon you will rack up more pushups and floss longer and further.
The simple logic here is like this, “Why not do couple more pushups if you are already down for the first and only one!” Same for flossing, “Once I start why not go all the way!” We are sure you got it by now – “Once the wheels are turning..” is at work here as in many other cases.
Stage 2. Once you have the habit up and running
And the best part now.
Building a habit is as important as difficult since it requires lots of willpower and self-discipline. But once it is firmly rooted in you then there is no need to spend time and effort on its deployment. All happens by itself, if it is really a true one, of course.
And it becomes your “second nature” – it is subconscious, effortless and with no need for any motivation. It is also at your unconditional disposal every single day.
In our experience for a healthy lifestyle we compiled a number of good ones. These include workout, meditation, hydration, whole foods, as well as this most basic one – rest.
Becoming aware of your bad tendencies
We already wrapped up discussing how to form a good and desired behavior. But what transpires when you are subconsciously doing something harmful to yourself, something you weren’t aware of till now?
Here is one example out of our own experience. It is about the impulsive buying. Here is one well- tested approach.
Wait for a couple of days!
Don’t pull out the credit card right away! No matter how strong the impulse might be you just promise yourself to reconsider the purchase again in about 2 days. And if life is good enough without it then you have to conclude that you are not in such dire need of it after all. The working principle here is that when you give yourself enough time you minimize the emotional as well as the impulsive component of the decision making.
You can apply this technique in all sorts of situations. You may refine it or completely build a new one but the key is to analyze your behavior and discover which of your bad practices are subconsciously driven.
How to drop a bad habit
To achieve this you will have to do better and go further in your effort. Or, it may turn out to be not so difficult after all.
Many people claim that the best scenario is not to get rid of a habit but first to find out what it is really about and only after that to look for a new and better one to replace it.
Let’s say that you drink a bit too much beer. Which might lead to all kind of other issues (you may very well be familiar with these – beer goes well with peanuts and other snacks and then you feel stuffed, you go to bed late, etc.)? Just think what it does to you! Maybe you simply quench your thirst and instead of many pints of hop flavored alcoholic beverage you can happily have some iced lemonade.
Another common and unhealthy thing is to sit down, remote in hand, in front of the TV to completely waste your evening. Does it help in any way! Perhaps it does but falsely so – relaxing and just slouching on the couch is a passive way to recharge. The active and a lot more beneficial type of rest is to get out for a bike ride or a walk in the park. The upside is obvious – you don’t throw away time, you make it easier on yourself when you slowdown in this way after a long day. Not to mention here the long-term pluses of the more active life style you are having. This is widely proven and accepted.
If you manage to gather the good habits and eliminate the not so good ones then your whole being will be energized and in no time you will become more organized and productive.
What is the approach?
Whenever you decide on a new routine let it be an undertaking of building one at a time. You will need all your focus and self-discipline you are capable of.
However, when you are trying to free yourself from an unwanted one then you might find it easier to work on several of them.
Just consider this! The bad ones are usually interconnected. First, big lunch plus a dessert, then coffee in the afternoon becomes a must. All of this will make your evening hours a bit too “energy-rich”. Alcohol may not be a bad way to slow down but then you hit the pillow too late and your sleep is restless, not enough at all and that inevitably leads to a rocky start in the morning.
Try to knock off just a couple of these and you will quickly realize that there is a domino effect to it. Your entire day will be transformed as well as you in the process.
This positive feedback can be put to use in yet another way, namely when you try to acquire more than one good habit.
A habit is a powerful thing
The idea of “keystone habits” is given by Charles Duhigg in his book “The Power of Habit”. A simple concept – a good one unlocks many others.
Let’ say you want to bring up your energy levels in the morning. The routine becomes a ritual of sorts when successful. It could include the above-mentioned pushups with a following cup of green tea while reading an interesting article, some meditation, planning for the day and, of course, quality time with the kids. If you gain that kind of control over your mornings then this will generate enough energy to sustain you throughout the day.
Can you guess what the key to unlocking it all is?
You might say, “Yeah, sure – it is to get up early.” And you will be almost correct. In fact, it is crucial what time you go to bed and not when you get out of it.
That’s how with only a minor improvement in your routine you can accomplish so much – your energy will be boosted to a new level and life will never be the same afterwards.
Try to employ these “rules of thumb” throughout your life! That’s where “Goal Buddy” can help – it will make it easier for you along the way. Share with us how you are doing, what your results are! And expect the next exciting article on our website! See you soon!