Habits are powerful tools! 95 percent of our brain activity is unconscious; the actions we take, our emotions and behaviors, depend mostly on what lies beyond our conscious awareness. These habits can help us achieve our goals at work, in our personal lives, or in our studies. However, building habits that last can be challenging. Many of us struggle to make lasting changes in our behavior, researchers called this automaticity. A study by the European Journal of Social Psychology indicated that after 60 days of repeating a process the habits become as automatic they can be. We heard from the participants from our Taster Session in Nairobi, Kenya and decided to share with you six strategies to help you (and us) build more than one habit that sticks.
Before you continue, take 30 seconds to come up with a list of 1 to 5 habits you want to bring into your work, studies, or life.
Start with Number One
We all have that one habit we would really like to adopt, I for one have been trying for months to cook more food at home. One of the most important things to remember when building a new habit is to start small. Trying to make too many changes at once can be overwhelming and increase our likelihood of failure.
There’s no rush! Start with one habit at a time and choose something that is easy to achieve. If you’re like me, maybe you need to start with planning meals we actually know how to cook instead of going for an under-spiced curry. Once we have successfully built one habit, move on to the next one on your list.
Know What You Want
It’s easier to build a habit if we have a clear idea of what we want to achieve. Rather than setting vague goals like “exercise more”; work on creating specific and measurable goals. Specific goals can help us know when we are achieving our habit; and by making them measurable, it helps us plan how we can make that happen in our day.
You might want to “go for a 30-minute walk every day”; that seems like something easier to achieve by simply taking the long way to pick up our take-out. Already walking 30-minutes a day puts you in the less than 5% of adults who exercise daily.
Create a Routine
Bringing in the measurable aspect of your habit will help you accomplish it if you have a consistent routine to envision this within. Whether it’s 30-minutes of daily exercise after all your morning meetings or cooking lunch knowing that the meal you chose for Tuesday takes you around the same time to cook.
Stick to that routine, find recipes that you can cook in the time you have, or work from home training videos that have a predetermined amount of time. Over time, your habit will become automatic, and you will find it easier to stick to.
Track Your Progress
Keeping track of your progress is a powerful motivator, there’s a reason the notifications on our phones always come up around the same time. Use a habit tracking app or bring into your habits a journal where you can record your progress and celebrate your successes.
Seeing how far you’ve come can help you stay motivated to continue building your habit.
Being held accountable by someone can serve as a potent means of establishing long-lasting habits. Being answerable to someone else can increase the likelihood of following through on commitments and remaining on track. As you make strides towards achieving your objectives, you’ll gain a more defined sense of direction.
Find a group of people with whom you share an interest, who can support and keep you on track. If you are interested in reading more, joining a book club can be a great strategy. As a plus, you’re gaining a new set of friends and networking opportunities!
Be Kind to Yourself
Establishing habits can be challenging, and there will inevitably be instances where you slip up. During these moments, it’s important to show yourself compassion and don’t give up! Remember that cultivating habits is a gradual procedure that requires patience and repetition in order to adopt new behaviors.
In conclusion, the journey towards building lasting habits may seem daunting, but it’s an endeavor worth undertaking. The key ingredients are perseverance, determination, and a willingness to begin with small steps. By adopting these strategies, you can initiate lasting changes in your behavior and unlock your potential for success.
So, take a leap of faith and invest in your leadership growth by nurturing your habits and embracing a mindset of continuous learning and growth. Remember, the greatest leaders are those who never stop learning and growing, and with dedication, you too can become an exceptional leader.