While some people might talk about breaking bad habits, like late-night snacking, others want to focus on building new habits. But why do we have habits? According to science, our brains are always looking for a way to save energy. So, whenever we consistently engage in a behaviour, our brain turns it into an automatic routine, making it a habit.
But are habits essential for success? Depending on the habits you choose to pursue — yes! In fact, there are many habits of successful CEOs you should adopt. Some even claim that adopting certain habits is essential for success, alongside hard work and motivation. However, forming new habits can be quite difficult. In fact, some people say the hardest part of new habits is simply starting them! While you do need to have the determination to develop new habits, here are some tips on how to build habits:
1. Form one new habit at a time.
Simply convincing yourself, you’ll have multiple new habits in one go is not productive (although life would be much easier if that were the case). Instead, try focusing on one habit at a time. It’s quite easy to get overwhelmed when trying to implement too many changes in one go, and no progress is made. It’s no surprise that people who take on multiple goals are less likely to be successful than those who focus on one goal!
Break it down!
And of course, when focusing on a new habit, approaching it in smaller steps to make it more achievable. For example, if you want to begin reading more often (a habit many successful CEOs have), start off by trying to read one extra book each month. This simple goal will give you a realistic standard, and you can begin to challenge yourself more afterward!
Research has also shown it is easier to stick to your habits when you specify when, where and how you’ll perform the habit in question. So, while focusing on your new habit, set a schedule — and put it in your calendar! You’ll be 2-3 times more likely to stick with your new habits if you do so!
2. Commit to your habit for 21 days.
Some researchers claim that committing to a behaviour for 21 days will turn it into a habit. While this has been deemed a myth by other researchers, it’s best to take it a step further and implement the 21/90 rule: performing a behaviour for three weeks (21 days) will make it a habit. After this habit has been established, continue performing the behaviour for another 90 days. It has been said that the 21/90 rule helps you build good habits and a better life! If you’re living with entrepreneurs, consider this a collective challenge: each of you writes down a new habit and follows the 21/90 rule!
3. Know the benefits, know the pain.
The best way to go through with forming a new habit is to recognise both the benefits and challenges that come with the process. Tom Bartow, a successful business coach, identified three phases of habit formation:
1. The honeymoon:
According to Bartow, this is the point in time where you’re greatly motivated to stick to behaviour, often motivated by something inspiring. If anything, this is the phase where you are convinced that fulfilling this task is easy. But just like any other honeymoon phase, this will come to an end.
2. The fight through:
After the honeymoon phase ends, reality begins to sink in. This is a tipping point: your eagerness begins to fade, and the temptation to give up on your habit creeps up. There are three ways to overcome this:
identify when you are entering this phase, and tell yourself you will overcome the challenges you face. If you set your mind to it, you’ll win the fight!
Ask yourself two questions:
“How will I feel if I do this?” and “How will I feel if I don’t do this?” Remind yourself of the emotional benefits of completing your habits. Having a positive mentality is the way forward!
Imagine how your life will be in the next five years if you don’t adopt this habit or make changes. Being honest with yourself will allow you to recognise the importance of the change you seek to make.
Bartlow claims that this is the phase where your behaviour becomes a normal part of your routine. However, watch out for these three obstacles that might destroy your progress:
The discouragement monster: your negative thoughts might convince you that whatever you’re doing is not working!
Disruptions: your routine becomes disrupted by some significant changes.
Seduction of success: You solely focus on the positive results of your behaviour, before you’ve fully progressed with your changes!
Overall, by recognising the benefits of a new habit and visualising your life with it, you become motivated to implement this behaviour! But to avoid falling into a false illusion of success, recognise the pain that may come with your failure to follow through with this change. Avoiding pain is one of our greatest motivators!
4. Gather the right people around you:
If you surround yourself with like-minded people, you begin to feed off their motivation and begin to enable each other to make positive changes. Research has shown that individuals pick up on habits from the people they surround themselves with. According to author Sean Meshorer, having social support when picking up a new habit can act as positive peer pressure — you’re more likely to be motivated and held accountable to stick to your habit! Living together with entrepreneurs will be an excellent way to keep motivated and inspired to change for the better.
5. Stay consistent:
This is arguably the best piece of advice on how to build habits! According to Meshorer, it can be pretty easy to fall into the temptation of quitting your journey towards change. He wrote, “the process of creating habits requires repetition.” Sometimes the key to making a habit stick is making sure some of the cues are consistent, such as the time of day, place, and environment. Again, staying consistent can be easier when living with other people! So are habits the key to success? Yes! Is consistency the key to developing a new habit? Yes! Consistency equals success.
Sometimes starting a new habit or new project can be overwhelming. But luckily for you, The Entrepreneur House is the perfect place for you to meet up with like-minded people! You’ll have the opportunity to improve your performance, increase productivity, and most importantly, expand your professional network!
By Rafaella Karadesh