You probably have a lot of good intentions when it comes to forming healthy habits. You want to be more productive, eat healthier, and exercise more often. Unfortunately, research shows that less than 20% of people succeed at forming new habits long-term. Why is this? The problem isn’t motivation — we all have the drive to be healthy and productive. Rather, the issue lies in how we go about trying to achieve these goals. Most people make the mistake of trying to form new habits in a very obvious way: They tell themselves they must do something every single day. These rigid attempts at creating new routines seldom work because they’re so focused on external actions rather than internal motivations.
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Be more productive and efficient by forming habits you love
The most successful people don’t just have healthy habits — they have healthy relationships with those habits. They do what they love, and as a result, their habits have become part of who they are. When you form healthy habits you love, you’ll also be more productive and efficient. Healthy habits give you more time, energy, and focus to do the things you care about. You’ll also be more likely to stay consistent with your goals and see real results over the long-term. Unfortunately, many people try to create healthy habits they don’t actually enjoy. But how can you fall in love with a habit you don’t even like? Instead, start by asking yourself, “What would I love to do?” Then, choose a few healthy habits that reflect those desires.
Start with the end in mind
Most people try to create better habits as if they’re starting from scratch. They hope that if they just keep trying, they’ll eventually form healthy routines. Unfortunately, this is a recipe for failure. Instead, you want to first figure out where you want to end up. Before you start a new habit, ask yourself, “What does this habit need to accomplish for me?” If you can’t clearly define the purpose of your habit, you won’t have much motivation to keep going. You’ll also miss out on many potential positive side effects of forming better habits. So, before you dive into a new routine, stop and think about what you hope to get out of it.
Don’t be afraid to fail
If you’re trying to create new habits that you don’t actually want, you’re going to be much more likely to fail. This puts you in a vicious cycle, because you’ll be highly likely to give up on your new routine after just a few days, weeks, or months. So, before you even start, you can pretty much guarantee that you’ll fail. On the flip side, if you fall in love with your habits, you’re much less likely to give up. This doesn’t mean you should be careless or reckless. Rather, it just means that you’ll be more forgiving of yourself when you slip up once in a while. You’ll also have more positive energy to put into your routine each day.
Use your environment to succeed
You might think that you need complete control over your environment in order to form new habits. And while a little self-discipline can go a long way, you don’t need to be perfect in order to succeed. In fact, trying to be too perfect is often a sign that you’re trying too hard. Instead, look for ways you can make it easier for yourself to form better habits. For example, you might notice that you’re more likely to eat poorly while you’re at work. So, you can negotiate with your boss to have your lunch delivered each day. Or, you might notice that you’re less productive in the afternoons. So, you can make sure to leave yourself plenty of time to get everything done before you hit that slump.
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As you can see, there are a few key differences between people who attempt to form new habits and people who actually succeed. The biggest factor is that those who succeed have made the decision to fall in love with the habits they’re forming. They’ve decided to focus more on the joy they get out of the daily activities they’re doing and less on how they think they “should” be spending their time. Habits are a tricky thing. They can be hard to create, even when you are motivated. But, with a few tweaks to your habits, you can be much more successful at forming new routines.