We literally have no idea the power habits have. They literally form the kind of person we become. A study showed that 40% of our decisions are not really decisions, they are habits. We do what we are used to doing all the time. For example, if you exercise daily, you will have a great body and you will be in good health. However, if you binge on Netflix shows and be a sloth all day… We all know how that usually turns out.
We all have dreams that we would want to accomplish. And interestingly all these dreams coming true are tied to our habits. So how can you make sure you achieve your dreams? You have to track your habits, after tracking your habits, you can audit your habits.
See which habits are aligned with your goals. Are they getting you closer to your goals? Then keep them. Are they taking you further from your goals? Then you need to get rid of them. So how can you track your habits? Let’s get to it.
1. Make A List
You need to make a list of your goals, what do you want to achieve in this lifetime. Write it all down, all your dreams and aspirations, don’t leave anything out. Let your mind run wild. Do not think about the process of how to achieve them at this point. You want to have it, write it down.
2. Track Your Current Habits
You need to check what comes to you so easily. How do you spend your typical day? Remember that for you to be successful in changing your habits, you need to start with something that is already familiar to you. If you shock your system then you will most likely give up too soon.
You can do this by writing down what you do for a particular amount of time. You can track your current habits for like a week. This will give you an initial amount of data that you can use as a baseline. You can also use ATracker which is an app that tracks everything you do. And logs the time you took doing it.
3. Audit Your Habits
You have to countercheck your current habits against your goals. You need to have a hard talk with yourself because for certain goals to be achieved, some habits that you are already accustomed to will have to change. It is not an easy task to change your habits. You also need to check how much time you are spending on things that are not beneficial to you.
It is not a bad thing to want to kick up your legs and relax after a hard day. But is it at the expense of your goals? This shouldn’t be the case, track how much time you spend watching TV and scale it back and add something beneficial, like learning a new skill that will help you have a side-hustle.
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4. Changing Your Habits
This is by far the hardest thing for an individual to do, to change what you are used to doing and bring in something new. Most people don’t like change, they like things done just exactly as they are used to them being done. So how do you as an individual change your habits when you seriously want to?
4.1 Be In The Right Frame Of Mind
All habits proceed through four stages, cue, craving, response & reward. You need to understand what this means for you because this will be your key to changing your habits. What triggers a habit is different for every individual, you need to know yours.
- Cue- This is the trigger for your brain to do something. For example, you are hungry.
- Craving- This is the motivation to do something, it is the force behind the habit. For example, the taste of cheesecake on your tongue.
- Response- This is the actual thing that you do. For example, go to the store and get some cheesecake.
- Reward- This is the end goal of the habit. For example, actually eating the cheesecake and savouring every bite.
Remember everyone has different triggers, you need to know and understand yours, take it through the four stages. Once you are able to do that you can be able to change one habit at a time.
4.2 Set A Reminder
Since your old habits will naturally overpower the new ones in your head, set a reminder for you to do the productive habit. In the words of James Clear,
How to create a good habit.
The Cue- Make It Obvious
The Craving- Make It Attractive
The Response- Make It Easy
The Reward- Make It Satisfying
How to break a bad habit.
The Cue- Make It Invisible
The Craving- Make It Unattractive
The Response- Make It Difficult
The Reward- Make It Unsatisfying
Changing a habit will never be easy and as human beings, we are programmed to readily accept bad habits more easily than good ones. It will be satisfying though and it is usually the best feeling you will ever have when you achieve it. I hope this article is able to help you add a few good habits to your life as it did mine. I would love to hear about them in the comments.