6 Crucial Tips On How To Form A Habit

Have you ever heard the expression, “It takes 30 days to form a habit?” Unfortunately, it isn’t true. Researchers say it actually takes the average person about two months (66 days) to form a habit.

Despite this discouraging fact, habits are relatively simple to form and worth the work. It might take a little longer than you thought, but there are many easy ways to incorporate a healthy new habit into your schedule. You’ll barely even notice the time gone by. 

The Science Behind Forming Habits 

The process of forming habits is decades old. Burrhus Skinner, known as the father of behaviorism, developed a technique called “shaping” in the 1970s to make forming habits easier. 

Shaping involves celebrating your successes through positive reinforcement, so you’re encouraged to repeat the habit.

The Importance of Positive Reinforcement 

Positive reinforcement creates a positive feedback loop in the brain that will make you more inclined to keep working on your habit. Having a reward on the other side will not only give you something to look forward to but help you remember to perform the habit in the first place. 

So instead of getting discouraged on the days you don’t complete your new task, celebrate the times you do. 

How to Build a Habit: Tips at a Glance

  • Set an alarm
  • Root the new in the old
  • Micro-Commit
  • Ask for accountability
  • Treat yourself
  • Keep score     

6 Tips on How to Form a Habit

Here are six tips on how to form a habit. With these simple steps, you’ll be meeting your goals before you know it!  

1. Set an Alarm

The best way to keep up with your habits? Do it at the same time every day.

●      Set an alarm to help trigger your brain into performing the new habit. 

●       Performing the habit at the same time ensures it will become part of your routine.

Why it Works

 It’s easier to stay on track with a new habit if it’s ingrained in your daily routine. “Triggers,” such as a phone alarm, remind you to complete the new task during your busy day. 

After a while, you may not even need the trigger anymore. Your brain will automatically start the habit at the usual time without the reminder. 

2. Root the New in the Old

Build off of the habits you’ve already formed to create strong new ones.

  • Habit stacking” is the process of connecting a new habit to an old one. 
  • This takes advantage of the neural pathways already in your brain from past habit formation. 

Why it Works

Just like you can trigger a new habit with an alarm, you can trigger it with an old one. Just take one of your daily activities and add on to it. 

Your old habits are embedded in your brain. By stacking a new one onto them, it’ll become automatic for you to do the new task too.

3. Micro-Commit

The lower the bar, the more often you’ll be able to meet it. 

  • Giving yourself a small task to complete makes you more motivated to do it. 
  • After completing the minimum, you’ll likely feel encouraged to keep going. 

Why it Works

Let’s say your new habit is running fifteen minutes after work, but you come home tired. Instead of not running at all,  you could alter your habit and run for five minutes. 

By the time you complete the five-minute micro-commitment, you’ll likely be energized and ready to take on more. Even if you only run the five minutes, you still worked on your new habit. 

4. Ask for Accountability

Everyone needs someone to help them stay on track. 

  • Having someone to hold you accountable makes it easier to stay motivated.

Why it Works

Not only is it more fun to build a habit with a friend, but it’s also a great way to make sure you don’t forget or give up. You might let it slide if you stop doing your new habit for a day or two, but an accountability partner will make sure you don’t slack off. 

You can also try being your own partner by using an app or declaring your intention to your social media followers. 

5. Treat Yourself 

Positive Reinforcement is key to forming a habit. 

  • Positive reinforcement involves encouraging and rewarding yourself for small accomplishments.
  • Your reward can be anything from watching an episode of your favorite show to getting yourself a nice coffee. It should be something special you only associate with the habit. 

Why it Works

It’s important to reward yourself for your successes in your habit-forming process. This creates a positive association in your brain that will make you more eager to repeat your efforts. 

Knowing there’s something enjoyable on the other side of the task will make you more likely to complete it.  

6. Keep Score

Keep track of your success as a reminder of what you’re capable of.

  • If you’re a fan of small rewards like stickers, you can use them to mark your progress and give yourself a little extra positive reinforcement. 

Why it Works

It’s easy to stop believing in yourself and minimize your accomplishments. Having something tangible to illustrate how far you’ve come can be the best encouragement there is. 

The calendar trick will especially help if you’ve set a time goal for yourself, such as the scientifically confirmed sixty-six days. 

Final Thoughts

It can feel impossible to find the time for self-improvement when you’re busy juggling your responsibilities. But the small things you do every day build up. 

These points are the easiest ways to form a habit, a little bit at a time. It may take determination, and a little help from friends, but you have everything it takes to meet your goals. 

The idea of starting something new can be daunting, but if you follow these tips, you’ll be surprised at how much you accomplish. The trick to forming a habit is staying consistent. 

Mark your accomplishments, reward yourself, and most importantly, don’t give up!

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