Habits and how to make them stick like glue
I will argue that habits have the capability to build or break your level of success in life, in
what you are doing.
We repeatedly do the things that define us, correct? If we are good at math, we do math. If
we are good at painting, we paint. We become excellent in math and painting due to the habit
of doing just that.
The problem or the challenge lies in continuing to do these things. There is so much going
on all around us. We are constantly interrupted and even though we love math or whatever it
might be, we just can’t find the time for it.
Most people that try to create a new habit end up failing after a few days or weeks. As an
example, let’s talk about all that says they will start going to the gym in January. How many
continues into February? There are actually statistics about just that.
I will tell you – 50% have stopped at the end of January. The people starting with yoga in
January is even worse, 70% stopes within weeks.
Why am I telling you this? Because it is hard to start a long-lasting habit.
There are of course ways, we see it every day. Which means you can do it.
Start by focusing on one habit, not multiple new habits at the same time.
If you are passionate about what you set out to do you will have it easier, but not easy.
We have what is called willpower. Some have it more, others less. But we start before that,
According to Wikipedia “Ego depletion is the idea that self-control, or willpower, draws
upon a limited pool of mental resources that can be used up.”
When your energy for mental activity is low, self-control/willpower is impaired, which can then be considered a state of ego depletion. Basically, a person’s capacity of regulating thoughts, feelings and actions.
If you have too many things you are working on, in this case too many habits that you want to
create, your supply of willpower will be spread out too thin – ego depletion.
That is why it is so important to focus on one thing at a time. It is a way also to focus your
willpower in one direction, completing that habit you need. Something that increases your
Decide what is important to you, what is it you need to do every day to reach your goals?
What habit do you want to create? Make sure you understand as much as possible about
whatever it is you want to create as a habit. The more you know the better it is.
Focus on small habits, called keystone habits, at the beginning of your habit creation.
Something that can have a positive impact on your life. I suggest you focus on something
small that you can do every day.
Better to be consistent and never miss your opportunity to complete your small change
than a big, time-consuming task, that will be hard to complete. Your new activity might feel
very simplistic but that is also the reason it is powerful.
I suggest you commit to a minimum of 4 weeks or 30 days. Why that number, you might
According to different sources, creating a habit can take anywhere from 18 days to 254 to
form a new habit. Another source claims that the average is 66 days to make a behaviour
become automatic, a habit. There is no exact number since we are all individuals, and some
habits will require more from you than others.
Focus all your energy, and commit for 4 weeks to creating your habit.
Now comes some important advice.
Glue your new habit into an already-established routine. In this way, you associate this habit
with already existing behaviour, something you already do. It is called “implementation
Implementation intentions usually take the form of, “If situation A occurs, then I will do B
behaviour.” The situation then becomes a trigger for the behaviour when it comes up in real life.
For example: “If there are stairs, then I will take them.” Seeing a staircase becomes a trigger
for walking up them.
If you then implement a new habit at the same time as “always walking up the stairs”,
something you already do, wouldn’t that be easier? According to science, the answer is yes.
You describe to yourself exactly what it is you want to complete and when whiles walking up
I suggest that you put your new habit into a statement:
Every time I___________, I will___________. Every time I get out of bed, I will write down
my goals for the day. Or, after going to bed, I will meditate for 5 minutes, and when eating
breakfast, I will read a business mentoring book for 15 minutes.
Find something you already do and glue your new habit to it. Create your new habit in an
environment with as little friction as possible.
Implementation intentions have been used to combat four potential problems for goal pursuit:
a) failing to get started, b) getting derailed, c) becoming rigid, and d) overextending oneself.
It also has the effect of freeing cognitive resources for other mental processing tasks.
Do not try to dissolve the glue. Stick to the course ahead. Use a calendar, and cross over every day
that you complete the task. Hang the calendar in a place where you see it every day. This will
make it easier for you. Missing a cross over one day in a month becomes very visible. Some
days will be more challenging than others, but you will be able to see that on the calendar… The X on the calendar will encourage you to complete your habit to be, every day. Makes your own excuses harder to accept.
There will be challenges and some of these you can prepare yourself for.
You might recognise a few since they are common for procrastination:
• Cost too much.
• Takes too much time.
• Too tired.
• Don’t have space for it.
• The weather is bad.
• I don’t have the right equipment.
• I must start next month.
• My mother-in-law is visiting.
If you prepare yourself for your own excuses, it is easier to overcome the above challenges.
Create ready-made answers called “If-then preparation”.
“If the weather is bad, I will start working inside instead”.
“If I am short on time, I will wake up 30 minutes earlier every day”
“If I feel I am tired, I will go to sleep earlier every day”.
Did you get the idea?
Make sure to have accountability partners.
Someone who follows up with you makes sure you do what you say you will do.
The best way is to let people know about your new habit and its effect on your life.
This means you will be observed by all these people, following your progress. Makes it harder to not do what you have declared you would do.
You can always use social media to post updates on your progress.
Join groups and forums online and tell them about what it is you do.
The above suggestions are about social approval, don’t underestimate that power.
There are also different Apps for habit tracking you can find if you Google.
Use your Notebook to write down your own success every day.
Use a calendar and cross over every day you make progress.
Reward and celebrate every important milestone on your journey.
Make building new habits joyful. Create different milestones and set up your goals including
what and how to celebrate. Make sure it is something to look forward to.
Make sure that the new habit becomes part of your identity. When it is, it will be so much
easier to maintain this new habit. It becomes part of “who you are”, the uniqueness of you.
As an example, when you talk about yourself you can say things in this direction; “I am the
type of person who likes starting the morning with 10 minutes of meditation” and you can add “on a daily basis”.
All of this reinforces and strengthen your new habit.
You now have eight steps to follow to create your new habit. What are you waiting for?