How to Develop New Habits

Habits are important factors in our lifestyle. The good habits we have can go a long way toward helping us achieve success in our careers and in our personal lives. Conversely, our bad habits can prevent us from reaching our goals in work and life.

If you are interested in establishing a new habit, what is the best way to go about doing it? Making a new habit isn’t always as easy as it looks. To begin with, it takes a certain degree of willpower to see it through. According to some experts, you need to repeat an activity about 70 times before it becomes a habit. How do you get to that point?

1. Set the right conditions.
If you want to begin a new habit, make it as easy as possible to get off the ground. For example, if you want to start running in the morning, get your running clothes and sneakers ready the night before and lay them out so that they are ready to go in the morning.

2. Make a schedule
Be specific about when and where you want to do your new activity and try to stick to it.

3. Measure it
You cannot manage what you cannot measure, according to the well-known management expert Peter Drucker. So, you need to keep a good record of your new activity.

For example, if you want to begin a new exercise regimen, get a notebook and record when you did it, how long you did it for, and what exactly you did. If the exercise is weight training, you would record the day and time, along with the exercises you did and the weights for each exercise. This way, there can be no mistake how well or poorly you are sticking to your new regimen. And you will know if you are improving or not.

Without record keeping, you really have no idea how well you are doing with your new habit. You may think you are sticking to it fairly well, but when you start keeping a record, you may find you weren’t nearly as dedicated as you thought you were.
Recording it also gives you an incentive to get it done. It just feels good to be able to write down what you have accomplished. And you know there will be nothing in your recordbook, or a notation saying “no workout” if you don’t do it.

4. Push yourself.
Don’t think about doing it – just do it. When the time you have scheduled comes, stop what you are doing, and do your new activity. Don’t delay; Shut you mind off and take action. The more you think about it, the more likely you are to come up with excuses to not do it, or to put off doing it.

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