The Ultimate Guide To Building Good Habits

  • How To Use This Guide
  • Part 1. What is a Habit
  • Part 2. The Science of How Habits Work
  • Part 3. The Habit Loop and How to Make It Work For You
  • Part 4. How To Change Your Behaviour
  • Part 5. How To Create Good Habits — 6 Steps To Accomplish Anything
  • Part 6. How To Break Bad Habits — 5 Ways To Do It
  • Part 7 How To Build Habits That Stick — Forever

How To Use This Guide

What is a Habit

The Science Of How Habits Work

  1. Cue
  2. Craving
  3. Response
  4. Reward
  • Location — place we are in
  • Time — what time of day or year is it
  • People — Who we are with and what other people around us are doing
  • Emotional State — what mood we are in, how we feel
  • Preceding action — what did we just do beforehand

The Habit Loop

How To Change Your Behaviour

How To Create Good Habits — 6 Steps To Accomplish Anything

  1. Start with a really small habit
  2. Build upon your habit in small steps
  3. Use chunking to break up habits into bite-size pieces
  4. Never miss twice
  5. Reward Yourself often and early
  6. Don’t go fast

1. Start with a really small habit

  • Start by writing down the good habit you want to eventually achieve
  • Write down 1 simple daily action that lasts about 2 minutes that will let you practice an aspect of that habit.
  • Aim to complete that simple, single action on a daily basis

2. Build upon your habit in small steps

  • Think of your daily habit. Now calculate what the results would be from doing that habit every day for 1 year.
  • Now, repeat that calculation for 3 and then 5 years. The results will surprise you.

3. Use chunking to break up habits into bite-size pieces

  • Break your habit into smaller chunks
  • Write down where and when you are going to perform this action every day

4. Never miss twice

  • Map out your schedule on a simple calendar system or paper.
  • Write down when exactly you are planning to work on your small habit.
  • Set an alert or reminder on your phone to review this calendar every week.
  • Mark it off on your calendar every day you complete it. Build your chain.

5. Reward Yourself Often and Early

  • For your goal, write down the exact reward you are going to give yourself every day when you complete your habit.
  • Choose a reward that you can do right after your habit or behaviour.

6. Don’t go fast

  • Set realistic expectations for your expected results from your habit after 30 days, 90 days and 180 days
  • Set a reminder in your phone or calendar to review these expectations
  • When you’re reviewing, ask yourself, if you achieved your expectations and what worked or didn’t work.

How To Break Bad Habits — 5 Ways To Do It Successfully

  1. Change a bad habit, don’t break it
  • Maybe that treat gives you a burst of energy to get you through the mid-afternoon slump.
  • Maybe you eat that treat so you can spend time walking around the office chatting with colleagues because you don’t want to go back to work yet.

How To Build Habits That Stick Forever

  • In Part 1 and Part 2, we looked at what a habit is and the science behind it.
  • In Part 3, we looked at The Habit Loop and the importance of focusing on cues and rewards when building habits. The four stages of the loop are cue, craving, response, reward.
  • In Part 4, we talked about how to focus on cues and rewards to change habits.
  • In Part 5, we laid out the exact steps you can take to build habits that last. Remember, the key is to start small with easy habits.
  • In Part 6, you learned that the best way to break a habit is to change it to a better one.
  • In Part 7, we covered how to use the “If-Then” technique to make sure you stick to your habit forever.
  1. Habits: A Repeat Performance by David T. Neal, Wendy Wood, and Jeffrey M. Quinn
  2. For example, see Verplanken, B. and Wood, W., “Interventions to Break and Create Consumer Habits” Journal of Public Policy and Marketing, Vol 25(1) Spring 2006, 90–103
  3. Atomic Habits by James Clear
  4. Brad Isaac quote when he asked Jerry Seinfeld if he had any tips for a young comic
  5. Leo Babauta blog, Zen Habits
  6. Tim Ferris Podcast with Jocko Willink

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MikeLynagh

MikeLynagh

I write about ideas on how we can live better lives

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