How to build (good) habits

We all are victims of habits. Some of us strive to "kick" the negative habits, others would like to adopt new, positive ones. Most resources online give very vague advice on "how-to". But is there a roadmap to actually building habits? This article suggest one possible way.

Habits are comfort. Routines are easy to follow, they provide the sense of security and certainty. That is why breaking habits is extremely difficult, just as it is to adopt new ones. Those, who have set out on a journey to find a possible solution, came across a lot of resources, advice and recommendations. Most of which included suggestions to "look for motivation within", "get an accountability buddy", or "try reading, vitamin C and more sleep".

Recently we came across an article which includes some real actionable steps that can be taken to adopt new (positive) habits. Here is a summary:

  1. Audaciously disrupt routine. As a first step to developing and adopting a new habit, you need to get clear on the "why". What is the motivation behind this new habit of yours? Once you've established the "why", you need to radically disrupt your routine. Without overhauling the routine you already have formed, you won't be able to build a new one. Want to make sure you go to the gym every day? Perhaps you need to change your entire daily schedule around your visits to the gym.

  2. Bundle with existing motivations. To make the adoption of an impactful new habit, you need to surround it with other, possibly existing, or forming positive and pleasurable habits and motivations. What brings you joy in your life? Is it a fresh coffee from your local coffee shop? Is it a long shower? Full breakfast? Reading the latest news? Instead of looking at your new desired habit alone, which will likely not bring you much joy, package it up with the enjoyable ones. Drink the fresh coffee on your way to the gym, take a long shower after the workout, read the news while on the exercise bike. This way you will have something to look forward to, and the whole experience becomes more enjoyable and desirable.

  3. Make the stack unbreakable. Your bundle of motivations and habits now develops a status quo. You should not allow anything to stand between you and the new habit. Distractions and changes of plans are unacceptable. Realize that whatever is trying to distract you from your new routine can be done later and stay on course.

Once you were able to develop one new habit using the tools we have described here, you will be able to repeat it over and over again with any habit in your life. This new system will help you develop the routines and habits required to get you to your desired state of being, achieve your life and financial goals, get closer to your complete financial independence.

To learn how to build and improve upon other useful skills, check out our Building Your Leadership Skills Checklist.