A routine can be a habit.
When you get up in the morning and when you go to bed–that can be a habit.
What you during your morning and evening routines can also have mini-habits tucked in there.
Habits are simple at their core, but you can bundle multiple habits to form a super habit.
For instance, if you have a habit of cleaning off your desk when you’ve finished working for the day, that might set up a habit to get right to work the next day without distraction.
If you create a habit to clear your cupboard of almost all of your junk food, you could train your brain to just go right for the good stuff.
Environment matters, and you can bake good habits into wherever you are.
To do this, you need to remember a few things. Three things, in fact.
Here’s a simple formula for creating new habits in your life:
I don’t want you to obsess over all the things you’re not doing–and all the ways you haven’t improved. I want you to memorize these three components.
- A cue / trigger
- A behavior
- And a reward
That’s it: A cue/trigger, a behavior, and a reward.
Before I learned to tie my shoes with any regularity, I needed to have these three habit components in place:
Now, there are other factors in play here, such as the motivation I have to not walk around shoeless and the vital knowledge that shoes make it easier to get around in the first place, but this discussion is just about the habit process.
When I have the thought to go outside, I see my shoes and put them on. The fact that they are on my feet cues my brain to go ahead and tie them.
So I do.
After that’s done, my reward is that I can now go outside and accomplish my goals for the day.
My shoes trigger the behavior that produces the reward.
This might seem stupidly obvious, but that’s how it goes with the formation of any behavior.
Questions to Think About Right Now
How can you make the behaviors you’d like to change as obvious as this?
How can you leave certain objects out in the open to make adopting the behavior as easy as possible?
And how can you reward yourself after you’ve completed the intended action?
Don’t overcomplicate this.
You’ve established all kinds of behaviors in your lifetime, and you’re not done yet.
Just remember what’s at the heart of them all.
The simple, tried-and-true, habit-building process.