We all know the importance of developing great habits and routines. But let’s be honest, it’s not always easy to do.
Think about it: if you have good habits like working out regularly, eating healthy, and showing up on time (to name a few), chances are you’re going to be more successful than someone who doesn’t have those same habits.
On the flip side, bad habits can easily sabotage your best efforts.
If you want to be successful in life, it’s important to develop good habits and routines.
The Power of Routines
We all have them. Those little things we do every day without thinking, almost on autopilot.
Some of us brush our teeth before bed, while others make the bed as soon as they get up.
Some of us can’t start the day without a cup of coffee, while others have a nightly glass of wine to unwind.
But what is it about routines that make them so powerful?
The Power of Habits
Habits are routines that we’ve developed over time, often without even realizing it.
They’re based on cues and triggers that tell our brain when it’s time to do something, and they help us automate tasks to free up our brain power for other things.
For example, if you always brush your teeth after breakfast, you don’t have to waste valuable mental energy trying to remember to do it later in the day.
The problem with habits is that they can be hard to break once they’re established.
That’s why it’s important to be intentional about developing good habits and breaking bad ones.
But why should we bother?
Because habits have a tremendous impact on our personal and professional lives.
Good habits help us be more productive, efficient, and organized. They improve our health and well-being. They make us happier and more successful.
Bad habits, on the other hand, can hold us back from reaching our full potential. They can make us less productive, less healthy, and less happy.
So if you want to live a better life, developing good habits and breaking bad ones is important.
Routines vs. Habits
Now that we’ve discussed the power of habits and routines, let’s talk about the difference between the two.
A routine is simply a series of tasks that you perform in a specific order at a specific time (or times) every day.
For example, my morning routine includes making my bed, taking a shower, eating breakfast, and brushing my teeth.
A habit is a routine that has become automatic over time.
In other words, it’s something that you do without thinking about it.
For example, brushing your teeth after breakfast is a habit because you’ve done it so often that your brain no longer has to think about it—it just does it automatically.
Habits and routines are powerful tools that we can use to improve our lives in countless ways.
But they only work if we’re intentional about developing them.
So if you want to be happier, healthier, and more successful, start developing good routines and breaking bad habits today!
What makes a habit “good?”
A good habit is something that will help you achieve your long-term goals.
For example, if your goal is to lose weight, then a good habit might be working out three times a week or cutting out sugary drinks.
On the other hand, bad habits are those that will sabotage your efforts to reach your goals.
Going back to our weight loss example, bad habits might include eating junk food or skipping workouts.
How can we develop good habits and routines that stick?
You know the saying, “success is a result of hard work and dedication?”
Well, there’s another important factor that often gets left out of that equation: habits.
Whether we realize it or not, the habits we develop play a major role in our overall success—or lack thereof.
10 Tips to develop Good habits and Routines that STICK!
1. Choose Your Habits Carefully
When it comes to developing good habits, quality is far more important than quantity.
In other words, it’s better to focus on developing a few key habits that will really make a difference in your life than trying to adopt a long list of superficial changes that you’re never going to stick with anyway.
2. Make it automatic.
One of the best ways to develop a habit is to make it automatic. That means setting up your environment and schedule so that the desired behavior is the path of least resistance.
It’s hard to stick with positive habits in a negative environment.
The environment is the invisible hand that shapes human behaviour.
Creating a habit requires you to redesign the space around you to one make it easier to see the queues for the habits and to avert bad habits by making them visible.
To drink more water. Make the queues visible and obvious. Place water bottles around the house where you are likely to see them.
If you want to start working out in the morning, lay out your workout clothes the night before, so you don’t have to think about it in the morning.
2. Set a reminder.
Another way to make sure you stick to your desired habit is to set a reminder.
This could be a physical reminder, like putting a note on your bathroom mirror, or setting a daily alarm on your phone.
The key is to find a reminder that works for you and that you’ll actually respond to.
3. Start small.
When you’re first starting out, it’s important to start small.
Set realistic goals and then break those goals down into small, manageable steps that you can complete each day or week.
For example, if your goal is to work out three times a week, start by working out once a week for the first month.
Then, once you’ve got that down pat, increase it to twice a week the next month before finally ramping up to three times a week.
Taking things slowly at first will increase your chances of success in the long run.
If you try to change too many things at once, you’re likely to get overwhelmed and give up altogether.
So pick one thing you want to change and focus on that.
Once you’ve got that down, you can move on to other things.
4. Make it easy on yourself.
If you’re trying to develop the habit of going for a run every morning, don’t set your alarm for 5 AM. Start with a realistic time for you and gradually work your way up to earlier mornings.
5. Be specific.
The number one reason people fail to stick to a habit is not because of a lack of motivation but because of a lack of clarity.
Vague goals like “eating healthier” are harder to stick to than specific goals like “eating three servings of vegetables at every meal.”
When you’re specific about what you want to do, it’s easier to hold yourself accountable.
6. Find an accountability Partner
One of the best ways to develop new habits is to find an accountability partner who will help keep you on track and motivated when things get tough.
This could be a friend, family member, co-worker, or even a professional coach or therapist.
If possible, find someone who is trying to develop the same habit as they can relate to what you’re going through and offer motivation and accountability.
You can encourage each other, share tips, helpful advice, and support, and keep each other on track along the way.
7. Be consistent.
The key to developing any habit is consistency.
That means showing up every day, even when you don’t feel like it. It might be tough initially, but the more consistent you are, the easier it will become.
8. Find a role model or mentor.
Someone who has already accomplished what you’re trying to do can be a great source of inspiration and advice.
9. Create a positive feedback loop.
Reward yourself for completing your new behavior so that it becomes associated with positive feelings instead of negative ones.
10. Make it fun!
If your new habit feels like a chore, you’re less likely to stick with it.
Find a way to make it enjoyable so that you look forward to doing it.
For example, you can do your chores (ie, washing/cleaning) while listening to your favourite songs, and why not sing along as well?
How to Break Bad Habits
Bad habits can be hard to break, but it’s important to remember that they are just that—habits.
They’re not part of who you are; you can change them if you want to.
The first step is to identify the bad habit that you want to break.
Once you’ve done that, here are some tips to help you kick it for good:
4 Tips to Break bad habits
1. Make a plan.
Decide when and where you will do the new behavior instead of the old one. For example, if you want to stop skipping breakfast, decide that you’re going to eat breakfast every day as soon as you get out of bed.
2. Find a support system.
Ask a friend or family member to help you stay on track. They can hold you accountable and provide encouragement when you’re struggling.
3. Take it one day at a time.
Change doesn’t happen overnight, so don’t expect yourself to be perfect immediately. Just focus on making today better than yesterday.
4. Be patient with yourself.
There will be setbacks, but don’t give up! Remember why you’re doing this, and keep trying until you reach your goal.
Developing good habits can help improve every area of your life, from your
Developing good habits can help improve every area of your life, from your health to your relationships to your productivity at work.
Final thoughts on developing great habits and routines
Developing great habits can be tough, but it’s not impossible.
By making it automatic, setting a reminder, starting small, and being consistent, you’ll be well on your way to developing the habits and routines that will help you be your best self and one that sticks!
Where To From Here?
This article is part of How to be healthy – a guide for busy women.
I invite you to continue improving your health by learning about improving your physical fitness.