Have you tried to add a few habits to your life at once? If so, I guess you failed. And no wonder.
Importance of habits
Your life consists of many small actions you do. Most of them are repeatable because your brain tends to simplify everything. If you can act by using your subconscious systems then your brain will follow that path. And it will do that with everything it can. You then run on autopilot.
Imagine you’re trying to hit the dots with a cannon. What’s the possibility you hit all at once? Zero. And what about at least 2 of them? Almost zero.
So.. is there any chance to make it more likely to hit those dots?
Yes, there are ways to make it ridiculously easy.
Imagine that you could make those dots (goals) bigger so it can hit all of that.
How to do that? You basically add some preparations and adjustments that make that habit easier to do and to stick for longer.
You do that by making it obvious, attractive, easy and satisfying.
There are rules in Atomic Habits by James Clear that help you stick to your habits.
1. Make it obvious.
Make a list of your habits. Put it into an excel sheet or a Habit app. Some place you can look at them.
Write when and when you perform that activity. Define your time of doing habits. Then. the best way to do it is to combine it with already existing habits.
Example: Combine Listening to Podcast with driving to work.
2. Make it attractive
Imagine you’re participating in this kind of activity. Feel the pleasure of working out, the blood pumping up.
Join the culture where your desired habit is something normal. Feel like you’re already the person who does this kind of things.
Example: If you want to go to the gym regularly – Think about yourself as an athlete and a person who takes care of his/her health. Also, you can join some gym forum.
If you want to write more – think about yourself as a writer.
3. Make it easy
Reduce friction. Make each habit as easy to perform as possible. Do you want to play the guitar more often? Organize your room the way you see it more often and it takes you 5 seconds to start playing.
Same with every other goal.
Examples: Do you want to go to the gym more often? Prepare your clothes in advance in your bag so you just grab the bag and go to the gym. Have your plan prepared as well.
Do you want to eat a healthy breakfast? You can make a healthy shake in the evening so you can just take it and drink it in the morning.
4. Make it Satisfying
Use habit trackers and tick off each habit every time you complete it. That way you feel the dopamine kick thanks to your accomplishment.
Acknowledge you did something good every time you complete your daily habit. Congratulate yourself
Examples: Put your habit “Go to the gym” in the habit tracker like Momentum, Habitica or every other that you like.
Say: “I’ve made it!” – when you complete the daily habit.
Now your chances of hitting your goals look like this:
However, sometimes, it’s not enough. And you need to make even more effort.
How to make your goals even more likely to hit?
Prepare for the worst-case scenario. You want to lose weight but you are going out with friends in the evening. What’s your plan to stick to your diet then?
Now your situation looks like this:
There will be times that even that won’t be enough. And by sticking to all of your goals till the end means that you lower the chance of hitting your most important goals. Then you should decide what is more important for you and set some priorities.
Is drinking alcohol every weekend worth sleepless nights that cause a lowering of energy during the day?
Is smoking worth losing your health?
You need to make some sacrifices. Think about it. You won’t be able to hit all of that at once. Some of the things you do daily conflict with your main goals and you know it. The question is, are you tough enough to make those sacrifices?
And you might not be thinking that it is part of your goals – like smoking or drinking. But if you do it regularly, it is. It takes your budget of time and energy. You need to sacrifice some areas to make space for what is truly important to you. But do you even know it? You need to sit down and decide.
But it might be some other habits that seem to be good. Or at least now bad. In that case, this strategy also applies. You need to make priorities. And stick to them. Priorities are gold. If everything on your list is a priority then you don’t have any priorities.
Maybe you want to run a blog and also watch some series. It’s not bad to do it but because of it, you might not meet the necessary deadlines.
What about some important projects? You cannot do everything at once so you need to pick a low number of projects and try to finish them. And if you succeed in the time you set yourself then you can try adding another one next month.
For example – I want to run a blog – therefore I need to write 2 articles per month – therefore I need to write 200 words per day.
But I also want to be a professional guitar player, play at a concert, practice a few hours a day. And I want to be a great bodybuilder and workout for 1 hour every day. And I want to learn 3 other languages.
It might be great but can you afford it? You have some time budget. Some and you are not able to do all of these things at once.
I know it seems obvious but not so many people know that. They tend to become a superhero overnight. It doesn’t happen. Not only because of your budget of time but because you’re not used to doing so many things. And you’re bound to fail, and then, you feel weak and then you quit – all of your habits. That’s why you need to build it slowly. And be confident in your capability.
To know what are your capabilities – look at your calendar.
Now, you’re most likely to hit all of your goals. Congratulations!
Over time your priorities might change. That’s OK. Reflect on that and keep actualizing your goals and habits.
Diffpath vs Normal Path
- Taking control of your habits
- Succeding at developing new habits
- Feeling of accomplishment
- Moving forward with your goals
- Frustration over lack in control
- Failing after few days of developing a new habit
- Trying to do all at once
- Very slow progress or no progress at all
What can you do now?
Write down all of the habits that you would like to pursuit. Then pick 3 the most important for you at that moment in life.
And after that try to make each of them more obvious, attractive, easy and satisfying.
So… Do you want to hit some goals with your cannon?