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I do believe in habits.
I believe you and I are nothing else but the habits we practice frequently and consistently.
That’s what we are.
Bad habits? Your life will be a mess.
Good habits? You’ll have a great life.
As easy as that.
That’s why I became a “habit believer” a long time ago.
I had very bad habits:
- Junk food.
- No physical exercise.
- Not enough sleep.
- Stomach aches.
- Chronic fatigue.
A life I wanted to improve.
That’s why I started:
- Reading about habits.
- Studying them.
- Learning how to implement them.
- Converting them into something very deep in my life.
- Identifying myself with them.
When you achieve the identifying stage, you’re done:
- It’s a life-changing moment.
- It’s when the habit becomes “a way of life”.
- It’s deep inside, in the depths of your being.
- You are that thing.
The habit is something familiar at that stage, like brushing your teeth or putting your clothes on before going out to the street.
Forget about sacrifices, efforts, suffering… You crossed the border. You’re much more further. You’re just that. One does what he or she is.
I wondered for a long time how to create a habit.
From my point of view, there are 2 key points:
- Schedule it.
- Doing it consistently.
To make that possible, start with this:
- Practice it in a very short amount of time: 1 minute? Enough!
- Iteration. Practice it daily.
Next stage: increase the time you practice it, and keep it doing daily.
As days, weeks, months go by, you’ll consolidate the habit. Give it time, and results will come on their own.
Your habit-forming tool
But you’re reading this because you’re interested in creating the habit, the challenging part of this process.
Recently, I’ve made some changes into my routines, and I’ve re-scheduled some habits because I was failing in some of them (yes, don’t worry, you will fail, I will fail, everyone fails in life. Nothing happens. Just think of it and look for answers, solutions, new actions, new ways to make things happen).
I had a lot of habits, and I needed to organize them properly.
I managed all these habits:
- Daily planning.
- E-mail management.
- Editing & publishing.
- Online communities management.
- Training courses.
As you can see, 8 habits that were driving me crazy because I wanted (needed) to do them daily.
I was 100% convinced they were really good to me.
It’s not easy to keep your habits while you’re suffering interruptions, things happening you didn’t expect, a very intense life.
That’s why my first step was to schedule them. I decided a length for each one and a time to do them.
Whenever I had decided that (be coherent. It’s better less time but getting the things done, than trying to increase the length of your new habits. Don’t forget you’re creating them…), it’s when I kept on with the implementation.
I needed someone (or something) who indicated to me the pace, the rhythm when I should be doing that thing.
If I started doing my daily things and issues, I wouldn’t remember I should be practicing my planned habit.
That’s when I decided to start using my reminder app. In my case, Due, but you can use whatever you’re comfortable with.
- I created an entry for each habit and the hour in which I should start doing it.
- Whenever the alarm sounded, I should stop the task I was doing and began practicing my habit.
As you may guess, at the beginning, chaos came into my life. I was living in an “alarm state”, continuously jumping from alarm to alarm.
I kept on trying because I couldn’t find any alternative to start creating the habit.
You have to look at each alarm this way. It’s like a good friend who’s telling you: “Hey, man, just in case you’re able to, you should be doing this”.
Don’t look at it as a shock/scare but as a sweet recommendation.
I kept on going, and suddenly, I started to create the habit.
Somedays, I started the habit even before the alarm sounded. My body and mind were, little by little, adapting to a new way of doing things.
My schedule was, day by day, getting closer to that list of alarms I created not so many weeks ago.
If I couldn’t stop the task I was doing when an alarm sounded, no panic at all, I didn’t do the habit and kept on doing the task because I considered my task was much more important than the habit.
Day by day, I kept on going, and going, and going.
Don’t forget to set all your habits on a daily basis frequency so that they will automatically appear the day after.
Right now, I have all my habits more or less consolidated.
This system allows you to clearly see if the habit’s schedule and length is the right one.
For instance, I had set my reading habit at 16 hours for 30 minutes. I’ve seen this is impossible. I’m never ready at 16 hours to do that task. That’s why I’m looking for some other time block during the day in which that habit fits.
This system gives you the opportunity to see how you can adapt your life to insert new habits into it. It doesn’t give you the chance to avoid what you’re committed to because, day after day, the alarm sounds…
You cannot lie to yourself. You have to see it as something that’s helping you to become a better self.
Creating these routines is how you start changing your attitudes, how you see your life, how you create “space” to add healthy habits, those you want to achieve, those that will change your life and yourself.
Don’t start with 8. Just try one. If it’s a “stupid” one, even better.
Schedule it in your reminder app, and start doing it daily. You will see the system works.
For me, for instance, it’s a routine to start the day writing. Nothing and nobody has to tell me. I’m not writing, I’m already a writer. It’s inside myself. I do write because I am a writer.
It’s not about arrogance or feeling proud of oneself. It’s just a matter of identity, just doing what you have decided to do because you think they’re good for you.
That’s the kind of thought we are looking for.
Whenever you achieve that goal, it’s time to create a new healthy habit into your life.
Habit after habit, you’re creating a new self, a better one, the one you thought was a dream, something impossible.
Nothing’s impossible in life. It’s just a matter of creating and consolidating the right habit.