- Pick one (1) habit only that you wish to create.
- Do NOT set a goal that you wish this habit to accomplish. (That will come later!) For example: A habit is “exercising more”. A goal is “running a marathon.”
- Decide the MINIMUM that you wish to do daily to inculcate this habit. Keep it easy! if the habit is exercising more, give yourself something ridiculously simple to start with. (e.g. walking for ten minutes.)
- Here is the CRITICAL part: Create a printed calendar with blanks for each day of the week and place it where you will see it every day. Each time you complete the habit (in this case exercising more by walking for ten minutes) mark a check in your calendar with a large marker. It is ESSENTIAL you perform this (highly satisfying!) task daily.
That’s it! Why does this work? Because each day you are focusing on the HABIT (exercising more), not the GOAL (running a marathon), and therefore are far more likely to continue performing the habit. The key is to do it EVERY DAY, and take great joy and satisfaction from doing as little as possible (based on your own assessment of your “minimum viable habit”) so that you can check off your calendar. Watching the checks accrue on the calendar serves as immediate positive feedback and encourages you to maintain the habit. (This is known as “not breaking the chain”.)
Once you have created the habit you desire (this takes a month minimum, and can take as much as three to six months), then and ONLY then should you start setting some goals (e.g. running 5 minutes more each day then the previous day.) They key is to separate HABIT-FORMING from GOAL-SETTING – something that many people confuse, ending up achieving neither.
(Note: This article was written to be habit-forming, so hopefully you made it to the end and agree with its recommendations. Now go make a new habit!)