The Simplest Way To Build a Habit
Building a habit, no matter what anyone tells you, is much, much easier than you think. People tend to overthink it, making it into something more complex than it is. It’s not that difficult. And I’m someone who used to have some serious trouble in developing and keeping good habits. Ready? You just have to do it once. And then do it once more. And then again. And again. And again. Eventually, it’ll become automatic. That’s how you build a habit – all you have to do is do something once, then repeat it. But the key here is that you realize that you only really have to do that thing once. Once you do it once, all you have to do after that is do it again. And again. Basically – if you call a behavior a “habit” when you do it automatically, you can hack the habit-building paradigm by making yourself do it automatically, no matter what. As you do that thing over and over again, you’ll eventually fall into a pattern where you’ll do it without thinking. The best way to hack habit-building? Give yourself a trigger for your habit.
Building A Trigger As I said before, when you’re building a habit, what you actually want to do is to make yourself do the action that your new habit requires automatically, so you can be absolutely sure that you’ll repeat the action as many times as you’d like on a given day. The more you repeat the action, the faster you’ll make the action habitual. The best way to make yourself “automatically” do it – by making yourself obliged to do it – is to give your habit what I call a ‘trigger’. A trigger is a signal or event that will make you do the thing that you want to do. Say you want to build the habit of daily exercise. To make that happen, you can make your trigger 5:30 P.M. (a time). You’ll say to yourself something like, “Okay, as soon as 5:30 rolls around, I’m going to go to the gym. I want to build this habit of exercising.” You’ll be watching the clock, and when the clock strikes 5:30, you’re obliged to go to the gym. If you practice that for a couple of weeks, you’ll be hitting the gym at 5:30 every single day. Here’s another example: say you want to build the habit of better focus because you get distracted too much. Your trigger can actually be your distraction. Whenever you feel yourself get distracted from your work and look at facebook, twitter, et al, that’s your trigger to take a deep breath, ask yourself, “Is this really what I want to do with my time?”, and go back to whatever you’re doing. Triggers are that simple, guys. All you have to do is make your trigger happen once per day, and then you’ll be golden. Remember, you just have to do things once, then you’re done. Only worry about the moment at hand, and you’ll be fine. Don’t let the requisite two or three weeks of constant action intimidate you. Remember, for right now, you only have to take care of today. Do things once. Then once again. Then once again… That makes things much simpler. If you automate things with triggers, then you’ll have no excuse to not make something a habit.