Everyone wants rapid success in their lives, and many people are disappointed that they cannot achieve the success they feel they deserve. Maybe you feel like you aren’t achieving the desired outcome because you’re not motivated enough?
This article will look at how you can make small changes to your life and your environment to help form positive habits to improve your life.
Motivation and the 1% Rule
The truth is that you don’t have to wait until you’re motivated to achieve your goals. You can take small daily steps, which will help you improve significantly over the long term. If you set goals and create habits that will help you achieve them, you’re more likely to follow through. However, if you’re the kind of person who sets goals and never seems to achieve them, you need to improve your planning.
It’s likely that if you feel you’re not motivated, what you actually lack is clarity. If you create a plan of how you’re going to achieve your goals and take small daily steps, you would have created good habits. This will allow you to get one percent better every day, which doesn’t sound like much, but by the end of the year, you would have made vast improvements. If you take daily action, you’ll be a staggering thirty-seven times better by the end of the year.
The Four Stages of habit Formation
There are four stages to creating great habits. These will make it easier to form a habit in a shorter amount of time, and you won't have to use will power alone. Remember that it takes time to develop a habit. Scientists have proven that it takes around twenty-one days to make a repetitive behavior into a habit.
The four stages are noticing, wanting, doing, and liking. Let’s look at each of these in turn.
The noticing phrase requires you to plan how you’re going to form a habit and achieve your goals. To do this, you can write down exactly when and where you will do your habit. This will give you the clarity you need and help you form a habit rather than wait to feel motivated.
For example, if you want to meditate daily, it’s better to have an exact time and place that you’ll meditate. You may decide to meditate every morning at 7.00; this will then be non-negotiable. You’ll know that you need to meditate every morning, instead of waking up and thinking ‘I’ll meditate at some point today,’ or ‘I’ll meditate later.’
Sometimes challenges will arise, but you’ll be more likely to stick to your habit if you have a plan of when and where you’ll do your task. You can also think about failure. Imagine that it’s six months from today, and you haven’t achieved what you set out to do. What went wrong? Why did you fail? What were the challenges that caused you to fail?
By answering these questions, you’ll be able to see what is likely to go wrong. You can anticipate the challenges you are likely to face and come up with a plan of how you’ll move through them. This will mean that you’re more likely to achieve success in the long run.
You can also use the ‘if’ and ‘when’ method. This helps when situations arise that are out of your control and will allow you to have a backup plan. For example, if I can’t meditate at 7.00 in the morning, then I’ll meditate at a more convenient time. Set an exact time to meditate if something was to happen to make you miss your 7.00 am meditation.
We often want things because they are there and are an option. For example, if you know that you have some chocolate in the cupboard, you’ll likely want to eat it.
If you want to make good habits easier to achieve, you need to make it easier to do them by changing your environment. You can also use the same technique to make bad habits harder. It can be hard to stop a bad habit through will power alone, so make changes to your home to make it harder to engage in the habit.
For example, if you’re trying to eat healthily, don’t bring any chocolate or other unhealthy food into your home. Instead, place a bowl of apples on your table where you can see them, this will make it easier for you to eat healthily.
If you plan to read a chapter of a book every night before you go to bed, you can put your book on your pillow in the morning when you make your bed. This will be a cue for you to read when you get into bed.
You can also use this technique to help with learning new skills or doing exercise. If you’re learning the guitar, leave your guitar where you can see it so that you’ll be more likely to practice. Leave your yoga mat spread out on the floor every night if you plan to practice yoga in the morning.
When you first start trying to form a new habit, it’s crucial to put in the reps. Repetition is key to creating a habit and making it automatic. It’s also a good idea to optimize for the start line rather than the finish line. Do everything you can to make it easy for yourself to get started, rather than looking at the end result. If you continuously repeat a task, it will become a habit, and in time you’ll naturally see the results that you’re after. Also, remember to enjoy the journey rather than always pushing yourself towards the finish line.
It’s human nature to repeat enjoyable behaviors. Often good habits aren’t that enjoyable, but you know that you need to continue to see the desired results. You can make it easier for yourself to continue with good habits by creating a reward system. Bringing rewards into the present moment will help you stick with a habit.
A simple way of doing this would be to get a calendar, and every time you complete your habit, mark a large X for that day. This gives you a boost as it’s a small short-term gain. Don’t break the chain; aim to get as many Xs in a row as possible.
You may also want to buy yourself a small treat after completing a certain number of days.
If you want to change the results you’re getting in your life, you should also try to change your identity and what you think or feel about yourself. The daily actions that you take will provide you with evidence of who you are. For example, if you study a language daily, you’ll start to think that you’re studious.
Think about what type of person you want to become and then make habits that will help you to become that person. Each time you engage in a good habit, it will help to reinforce the type of person you are. The goal here is to change your identity and make habits automatic.
Here are some examples
- You can become a reader rather than having the goal of reading a book.
- Become a runner rather than setting yourself a goal to run a marathon.
- Become a writer rather than setting a goal to write a book or an article.
You’ll then be able to put systems in place to help you get there. If you want to become a writer, you can set a time, however short, to sit down and write each day. If you do this over the long term, you’ll not only have become a writer, but you’ll have written a book as well. Writing a paragraph every day is easier than writing a whole chapter of your book once a week.
Practice the habit every day, which will help you achieve an internal change and improve your confidence and self-esteem. You’ll develop your sense of self and become more like the person you want to be.
If you can make small adjustments to your life, you can change your habits and create more positive habits to improve your life. Everyone has areas in their life that they want to change or improve on, and having a plan about how to get there is always a good idea. Even if you’re talented, you won’t succeed without first creating positive, automatic habits.