Whether you know it or not, your life is a series of habits you create. When you start paying attention to your actions and decisions, you’ll see that each is contingent on a pattern that you’ve established. This isn’t a bad thing once you recognize it. The proper mindset can help you build a healthy habit list, leading to a happy lifestyle. It’s the habits that control you that hold you back.
To stop those bad habits in their tracks, you’ve got to create strong routines that work to your benefit. Like anything that becomes ingrained in us, it takes time (66 days, according to some experts), consistency, and repetition for this to happen.
If you’re ready to build some new patterns to create a healthier and happier life, we’ve got the secrets you need to get started with your healthy habit list.
1. Set Measurable Goals
When we decide on a habit as a part of our action plan, we have the intention of seeing it through. Most of the time, when our good efforts derail, it’s because we lose sight of the goal that they’re leading us to.
We forget the reason why the habit was important to us in the first place.
This usually happens when you set a vague target. If you aren’t sure where you’re headed, you will take foggy action steps.
To prevent this, be sure you set SMART goals. Not just “smart” but “SMART.” It stands for:
Here’s an example.
“I want to lose weight” is a vague target. How much do you want to lose? By when? Why? There are too many variables.
Instead, try, “I want to live a healthier lifestyle where I control what I eat. Because I don’t want to end up with (insert chronic disease that runs in your family) like so-and-so. I want to be in control of my food choices within three months.”
Replace a general outcome with a consequence you’ve seen visually and want to avoid. This way, you’re more likely to remember why your choices are so important to come up with a healthy habit list that you can stick to.
2. Track Your Habits
When you’re busy, it’s easy to forget (or not even notice) the little actions you do that mess up your new habits.
Think about when you eat dinner while distracted. You might be engrossed in a good conversation, working, or worried about something. Do you even notice what you eat, or does it disappear, leaving you surprised it’s all gone?
We do this throughout our day. We make many of our decisions subconsciously, without even noticing. That’s why tracking your habits is vital to making them stick.
Habit trackers are easy to use, and many are free.
Darren Hardy, the author of “The Compound Effect,” suggests a simple one. He recommends using a pocket notebook to track your target healthy habit list for one or two weeks.
You might find this to be an eye-opening project. Sometimes we need that rude awakening to see the impact the little choices we make have on our goals.
3. One New Habit at a Time
In order to establish a new habit, you need to add to your list gradually. Slow and steady wins the race.
When you build your habit list, choose one priority goal to work on at a time. Choose small action steps that will get you there and slowly implement them into your day until they become automatic.
Once you’ve mastered one, you don’t have to wait 66 days to bring in a new one. Pick the next logical habit to take you to your goal and add it to your day. Repeat.
4. Hold Yourself Accountable
You don’t have to shout your goals from the rooftops, but keeping them bottled up gives you an easy out. As a compromise, find a partner to keep you on track or use an accountability app.
Your partner should be someone you trust to tell it like it is. But you also need to respect their opinion of you enough to listen to them without taking offense.
If you don’t have a person to fill that role, an accountability app would be your next best bet.
You can install these handy programs on all your electronic devices. They keep you focused, remind you to get off of Netflix, send your daily to-do lists to your inbox, and check up on you.
If that’s still not enough to motivate you, consider making your healthy habit list public.
Be aware, though. Experts caution that there are pros and cons to public accountability.
Going public can add necessary eustress (good pressure to succeed), but it can also give you unhealthy stress. Not everyone is supportive of others, and if you don’t reach your goal, you could be the target of negativity.
5. Reward Yourself
Setting SMART goals is literal. You have to think smart when you create them.
But some experts recommend replacing the “R” from “Relevant” to “Rewarded.”
Positive reinforcement motivates everyone, some more so than others. If you know that you respond better when working toward a reward, this could work for you.
As you set your healthy habit list goals, determine a reward you’ll give yourself for getting there.
Of course, you shouldn’t reward yourself for losing ten pounds by binging on your favorite junk food. A healthier prize would be buying yourself a new pair of jeans.
If you’ve come this far, you’re serious about forming a habit list that will stick with you, and you’re prepared to stay the course. That’s something to be proud of right there!
No significant change is ever simple. Armed with these five secrets, you have the answers to tackle any obstacle that gets in the way of your success!
Angus Flynn has five years of Property Management experience working primarily in high-end apartment community living. His ability to consistently deliver white-glove service to his residents and prospects has propelled him in a successful career that now finds him leading the team at 837 Harvard.