Today we would like to start a series dedicated to this key element of our work towards any objective, habits that are.
We will explore different strategies and tactics while providing examples and introducing new ideas. We won’t forget to list some of the most common mistakes as well.
Our hope is that it will be as much fun as a practical experience for all of you.
Is there a secret to achieving success with ease?
Just as the regular small steps forward build up our perseverance, so habits can make this whole process almost effortless.
Once we master the technique of building and correctly applying the new habits we will be able to make progress on a variety of objectives for the many years to come.
Therefore, we believe that it’s a must to learn as much as possible how to use them for good.
What are habits?
These are any of the actions we take without giving it much of a thought. One could call it an instinct or even a second nature.
Almost everything we do during the day is like that – from getting up in the morning to getting in bed in the evening. Did you know that about 40% of things between these two points happen fully on autopilot?
Our daily lives are made up of habits.
Think about it: neither do you need any effort to make coffee or put on your shoes, nor do you need much willpower to get in the car and drive to work.
Life = routine?
We bet it happened to you as well… You are already out of the house going to work in the morning when all of a sudden you can’t remember if you turned off the stovetop. You don’t remember doing it but you are not 100% sure so you go back in just to double-check.
That is, habits are routine actions we mostly perform unconsciously. They are a powerful tool that we have to learn how to put to good use.
The two sides of the coin
If almost half of our actions fall under the column of “on autopilot”, then it matters a lot what they are, right? These could be good and helpful but also bad and destructive.
Exercising can greatly improve the quality of our lives, while junk food has the opposite effect.
Without passing any judgment here we want to emphasize that everyone should decide for themselves what is good or bad for them.
Of course, we need something more than just a set of habits. How to build new ones is what we have to learn.
(In the following articles we will cover some tactics and strategies; we will also show why it is so difficult to quit a “bad” habit while replacing it with a “better” one is well within our reach).
What a good habit can do for us
Imagine a spacecraft that in orbit – moving for a long time with almost no need to use any fuel. But to get there, it must have overcome gravity and that meant some serious amount of energy spent.
It’s pretty much the same story with habits. Once acquired, they allow us to progress smoothly and further. But it’s so hard building them. There is this initial period when we must do our best.
Wouldn’t a good habit be just enough?
Some go even further. For example, James Clear, author of the best-selling book “Atomic Habits: Tiny Changes, Remarkable Results” (Hermes, 2019), argues that we don’t need goals if we have a rich arsenal of great habits.
And we strongly disagree with this notion.
Building a habit on its own is one of the biggest mistakes we can think of.
To get a lasting effect while moving in the chosen direction, we need to have a visceral understanding of what we want as well as the means of achieving that.
Why should habits and vision be in sync?
It is crucial why we do it, i.e. to have a strong answer to the “Why” question.
We can only find such an answer in the long-term vision – one of the 4 keys to achieving goals.
What do we mean? Once you have a vision for health – one true reason to strive to be active, energetic, and in good shape for many years – it will be so much easier to stick to any chosen action in that respect.
Let’s say every morning you drink a glass of water with a lemon slice. Which is more motivating – to do it because of some internet influencers, or because it’s a component of your 30-year plan for a healthier lifestyle?
We choose habits that will take us all the way to making a dream come true. In doing so we do strengthen the answer to the “Why” question.
The many and different aspects of our life
Most of the habits that people try to create are related to health. For Ivan these number in the dozen. They include going to bed early and getting up early, proper hydration, regular physical exercising, etc.
You can do the same for anything in your life:
- Family and relationships: there are many thoughtful gestures that can have a long-term effect on any relationship;
- Personal finances: you may want to stop carrying with you any credit card, or to set aside a certain amount from your monthly investment budget;
- And how about something like spirituality, as you may understand it? Things like regular meditation, yoga, and/or breathing techniques are all good options.
For each aspect of your life that you consider important you should know what the potential habits might be.
The long-term part shouldn’t discourage you. Just keep in mind all that’s important to you and will not change regardless of time or circumstances.
How to create new habits?
If we have met this first condition, i.e. having a strong conviction, then it’s time to act.
In our opinion, one of the most effective methods is to do it employing 90-day goals. We set the target to act regularly for three months until it becomes an integral part of our lives.
And then for the many years to come, we keep reaping the positives of it.
First, we build our habits and then they build us.
What else is in the pipeline for you
Once we have outlined what habits are, how they work, and why to build them in the first place, we will move onto the more exciting and practical stuff:
- A guide on how to create a habit with the help of a 90-day goal
- Strategies and tactics
- Habits and time
- Ideas and examples of habits in different areas
- Favorite quotes and books on the subject
- The most common mistakes (one of them is quite big, and only recently we’ve realized that we fell for it too!)
Now, make it all work for you too!
Here’s a little “homework assignment” of sorts:
Think about what you are doing (or not doing, but would like to start) in the context of your different visions. And then fill in the following three columns:
1. What are the habits that have worked for you in the past, but for some reason (was it Covid, or some other emergency, etc.) you dropped?
2. What are your current habits and would you like to keep them in the future?
3. What are the new ones you want to acquire?
Again, if you can link these lists to your visions, you will give them even more meaning and you will have an even stronger answer to the question “why”.
And as we always say, the challenge is to share at least one of them in the comments section below. Thanks and see you soon!