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How to build good habits, that stick!

Creating consistent actions and building good habits

If we want to direct our lives, we must take control of our consistent actions. It’s not what we do once in a while that shapes our lives, but what we do consistently. Tony Robins

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To free up mental energy, our brains will be driven by habits, for at least 40% of the day, according to researchers. This is why it is imperative to make sure those habits are going to get us somewhere, achieve something, and make us feel good. We all have bad habits we could kick, whether it be binge eating, smoking or even distracting ourselves by scrolling too much. But as Tony Robins said, we must take control of these actions, especially as they take up nearly half of our day.

So how do we build good habits?

The first problem often faced, when failing to create good habits, is getting too distracted by the end goal. As we quite frequently remind our readers, goal setting is so important for setting good intentions, motivation and success, however you can only ever achieve your goals, by focusing on the small daily actions that lead up to it. It’s very easy to over focus on what we think we will feel like once we achieve your goals, when really, you need to learn to love  the process.

Daily actions are the tiny pieces that make up the bigger picture. What may seem like a really far-fetched goal, can look a lot more achievable when broken down into bitesize milestones and actions. It works both ways; we will feel a lot more motivated to get those daily actions done, when we know that it leads us to our bigger goals.

Habits are built on choice but sustained through consistency. Just by stating to yourself that you’re going to start doing something, is a really easy way to fail. Instead, we must create a framework for ourselves to ensure our habits stick.

1.Schedule a reminder: firstly, set physical reminders that cue your good habits. For example, if you want to start working out 3 times a week, book 3 classes or gym slot for yourself, and put it in your calendar.

2. Focus on the positives: place emphasis on the positives of new habits rather than the negatives of old habits. For example, rather than saying to yourself, if I smoke, I have to put money in a jar, tell yourself, if I don’t smoke for a week, I can put £10 in a jar

3. Be realistic: most habits will fail because they’re over-ambitious. The more you build on your habits, the more you will get in return, however, don’t overpromise to save £2k in a month, when you know that £200 is a lot more achievable for you. Once you start saving £200 a month, it will be easier to move up to £300 a month and then £400 etc.

4. Make your habit the only option: we like to let ourselves off ‘because we’ve had a bad day’ or ‘we’re too tired today’. However sometimes you need to be cruel to be kind. Have you ever dreaded a workout so much, but then felt amazing afterwards? Don’t give yourself the choice. The less you let yourself off the hook, the more automatic and easier your habits become. Soon you’ll be looking forward to that workout, rather than dreading it.

Staying on track: tools, feedback and reviews

As humans, we are much more likely to stick at something if it’s rewarding. This is why it’s so important to celebrate even the smallest amount of success. However, how are we meant to celebrate a success if we’re not keeping track of progress?

Using a software, like GoalShaper, to keep your habits in check, eliminates all of the off-putting admin behind performance tracking. There are 3 main tools within GoalShaper that will help you keep your habits in check.

1. Track your actions: In the FIND, SORT, DO section of GoalShaper, you are able to write down all the actions you want to achieve in any given day or week in the FIND column, set them to their specific category in the SORT column and then allocate them to a given day in the DO column. This creates a lot more self-awareness of how you spend your time, and whether you need to focus your energy more on certain aspects of your life. It also helps you to manage your workload and make sure you’re achieving what you set out to do. Ticking off these actions once complete, brings a great sense of reward, which as you now know, is important in habit building.

2. Feedback: our enterprise version allows your manager to be able to see your goals, and how far away you are to achieving them, as well as the daily actions that you’re ticking off, that link to these goals. They can then give you feedback on ways to get there quicker, or more easily. By having regular feedback, we are not just relying on ourselves to get things done, and much more likely to stay on track.

3. Reviews: our software means there is little work that needs to go into reviews, as you track your work as you go! This means when it comes to your reviews at work, you don’t need to try and remember everything you’ve done and you have proof of all your hard work, and the goals you’ve achieved. Being positively reinforced by your manager for achieving those goals or milestones, will make you much more likely to want to achieve even more.

Each day is built on the habits we have, and it’s down to each of us to control how well they serve us. Change won’t happen overnight, but small steps will make a big difference. Give yourself time, check in regularly and reward small successes.

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