We are a few days into 2016 now, and I’m sure you are planning to start off the new year on the right foot by building some new habits into your lifestyle.
In this post, I will share with you 2 simple techniques that I have been using to sustain my positive habits for the past 8 years. I hope this post will give you some new ideas if you are looking to create a lasting change through sustainable new habits!
Introduce an ‘Enjoyment’ Element Into Your New Habit
I started going for jogging every other morning at a park near my house 8 years ago. In the beginning, it was not easy to maintain the habit even though I am someone who is used to waking up early. In the morning, I will still find myself looking for excuses not to run.
One morning, I saw someone running with his earphones plugged in his ears and that gave me an idea. Perhaps I can listen to my favorite movie soundtracks and inspiring songs when I am running too!
So I put on my iPod on my next run and I found myself starting to enjoy listening to audio interviews and learning from the business experts during my jog. Sometimes I will switch to inspiring music for a different experience. With the addition of an ‘enjoyment’ element, I started to look forward to my next run so I could listen to more of my favorite podcast.
This discovery has changed my life and now 8 years later, I continue to look forward to my next run and find great pleasure in the process, thanks to my good old iPod!
Perhaps you have been trying to incorporate a new habit into your lifestyle and you have trouble sustaining it. My suggestion is you may want to think of adding an ‘enjoyment’ element into your new habit so that you have something to look forward to every time.
For this technique to be effective, the ‘enjoyment’ element should only be enjoyed while you are performing your habit. In my case, I need to make sure that I do not listen to my audio interviews outside of my jogging time.
There are some limitations to this technique as you cannot simply perform any kind of activities while performing your new habits. For example, if you like to watch movies, you can’t be watching a movie while you jog (it’s too dangerous)! So think of activities that can be suitably combined with your new habit without hurting yourself or people around you.
Create a Physical Space to Support Your New Habit
The second technique that I will be sharing below has helped me sustained my reading habits every day, and the principle behind which can be applied to form other new habits of your own.
If you are like me, you believe that self-development is important, one of the key activities that you should do every day is reading. In the past 8 years, I read about 3 books on average every month and this has helped me tremendously in the area of personal as well as business development.
This is how it works for me. Every morning, I will place the books that I want to read that day on the left hand side of my work desk. Only after I have read the books (at least one page), I can then place them in my drawer under the desk. That’s it!
I realized that during the day, I will want to keep the books as I don’t want them to lie on the desk (I like to have a clean desk). So I will find small segments of time to read them if I can. It could be 10 minutes before lunch break or 15 minutes before I leave my house for appointment.
No matter how much I read during that short time, I will then transfer the books to the drawer after reading them. It gives me great satisfaction knowing that I have made progress that day (and I am happy when I see my desk uncluttered!)
Sometimes when I have a busy day and when I see the books still on my desk after I reached home, I will grab them and read a page each and place them inside the drawer. Do not underestimate the power of this small act – this helps to achieve two things.
First, it helps me to keep my habit alive and not break the momentum! Second, reading a page every day means you can complete a book with less than 365 pages within a year. There are many people who purchase new books but have not even read a page! Besides, I find myself rarely just read a page once I got started. It is the inertia that is always the most difficult.
The principle of this technique is to find your soft spot and force yourself to do something in order for you to feel better. For me, I don’t like to see my desk cluttered with things, so I will do my best to get rid of unnecessary things on my desk as soon as possible. This has helped me to form and sustain my reading habits. You may need to use your creativity to change your surroundings to support your new habits but I believe the thinking and brainstorming will be very much worth the effort (and it can be fun too)!
You will have a higher chance of forming new habits if you have one of these two things – First, you have to do it (if you have a 9 to 5 job, you must report to work every day regardless you like it or not). Second is you like to do it (if you like to do something, you will find ways to do it even if you seems to have no time). Use these two factors to your advantage in forming new habits!
I hope you find this little sharing is helpful and feel free to share how you sustain your new habits below too!