We all have our habits. Positive and negative.

Habits are like compound interest…

They can be our best friend or our worst enemy.

So, how do you create positive habits?

How do you get them to actually stick?

Here is the most effective way to create and stick with new habits…

How Habits Are Created

If you have enough good habits, you won’t have time for bad habits.

Bad habits get in your way. They steal your time and trample your goals.

All habits, good and bad, are created the same way.

They start small.

Think about it. You know that’s how it happens with bad habits…

  • The alcoholic started with one drink
  • The smoker started with one cigarette
  • The gambler started with one game

You get the idea.

how to create habits

You can learn from this and use this technique to create positive habits. One small step at a time.

But how exactly do you do that?

How to Create New Habits

Start small. And make small progress. And keep going.

Leo Babauta says “Make it so easy you can’t say no”. That’s exactly what a new habit should be.

Want to start exercising? Start by running or walking one minute every day.

Want to make a habit of reading a good finance book everyday? Start by reading one page per day. It takes just a minute, but you are building the habit.

Identify yourself with the habit. You’re becoming “someone who works out” or “someone who reads daily”.

How to create good habits

And you have to believe that you are exactly that. Prove it to yourself.

James Clear calls this “identity-based habits“. The key is doing the habit each day, even if you can only do part of it.

Make small increases everyday. Add a minute to your run. Add a page to your reading.

If it becomes difficult to do, you’re adding too much too quick. The goal is to keep is easy.

How to Stay on Track

Add new habits gradually. One at a time.

If you have several habits that you want to add, add a new habit each week.

This is a slow, but effective way to build the discipline.

Remember this: If you stumble, start where you left off, but keep going.

What happens if you miss a day? Or a week? Or several weeks? You pick right back up. You keep going.

You’re not a failure for missing one time. You only fail when you decide to quit entirely.

How to create good habits

To summarize, here is how you create a new habit, in 5 steps:

  1. Start small
  2. Increase each day
  3. Increase by small intervals
  4. Continue building until you’re satisfied
  5. Repeat the process with another new habit

It almost seems too easy, because it is easy. Really easy. But it works.

Remember, while it’s easy to do, it’s just as easy not to do.

You can always create a new habit. You just have to start small enough.

I’ll leave you with a few ways to start some new habits that seem to be popular these days:

Reading/Writing: One page or one minute per day. Increase by that amount daily or weekly.
Running/Walking: One minute or .1 miles per day. Increase by that amount daily or weekly.
Push-Ups/Sit-Ups: One or two per day. Increase by that amount daily.
Healthy Eating: Eat healthy one day or meal per week. Increase by that amount each week.
Weight Lifting: Start all your lifts with the bar or a very low weight. Increase each week.
Meditation: Meditate for 1 minute per day. Increase by that amount daily or weekly.

Mold these to fit your schedule. The point is to start small and increase gradually.

Think about where you’ll be in a month, or a year, or 5 years!

If you want to get motivated, just figure out where you will be if you stick with your new habit.

It’s amazing, how huge the results are, if we start small and keep going. The latter is the most important part.

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Photo Credit: Trey, Mfcorwin, James, SuperFantastic