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The Power of Habits

Remember dreaming about what you would be when you grew up? You’re 4-8 years old and you know you can be anything you want… a fireman, a zoologist, an astronaut... Fast forward to now: you’ve made a life for yourself! Has it turned out the way you imagined?

The good news is accomplishing your version of success isn’t a matter of one exceptional act or a single stroke of unreasonable luck. Success is what you repeatedly do. No matter where you are now if you change your habits, you can get to just about anywhere you’d like to be.

In this post, we’ll cover tips to set yourself up with success habits. Before you think of chores or daunting amounts of willpower, let’s talk about what habits are really about.

What Makes a Habit?

Successful people use habits to avoid relying on willpower. They know that if they have to force themselves to do something they don’t want to do, their willpower won’t win enough times to make a difference. With small actions taken daily at a regular time, the need for willpower slowly goes away. The task becomes a part of your daily routine, like brushing your teeth or walking your dog.

So, if you want better:

  1. Health
  2. Wealth
  3. Relationships
  4. Fun
  5. Creative expression
  6. Career opportunities
  7. Or anything else you can think of…

These outcomes begin with what you decide to do every day. Habits are a structure you can use to bake these dreams into daily actions that move you toward your goals. 

For example:

  1. Health: drink 60 oz water every day. Stretch every morning. Meal prep every Sunday.
  2. Wealth: Save 10% of your income out of every paycheck. Check your budget every day.
  3. Relationships: Plan a date every week. Message a friend every day. 

These are examples of good habits that will make an upward trajectory part of your everyday life. But not all habits are good.

Habits Can Make You or Break You…

Are you aware of your daily habits? If you have a goal of better health, for example, but you snack on donuts every day on your coffee break, your habits aren’t helping you.

The next step to creating successful habits is noticing what your current habits are each day.

If you have bad habits, it’s ok! You can change them. The best way to change bad habits is to replace them with better habits.

Once you’ve identified your goals and the bad habits you’d like to change, it’s time to create one new habit at a time that will help you toward your goal.

Tips to Stay Consistent With Success Habits

The trick to incorporating a new habit into your day is to lower the amount of willpower it will take to stay consistent. If you’ve never been a runner and your daily habit is to run 3 uphill miles every day, you’re going to burn up your willpower by about day 3. However, if your habit is to run a little farther than you did yesterday, you’re more likely to push through any sense of dread or overwhelm. 

You can make habits even easier to integrate with a few tricks:

  1. Create an obvious cue: The aspiring runner can set running shoes and a change of clothes in their entryway each day. Every day when they get home from work, they have to walk over the cue to run.
  2. Create an attractive craving: The runner could listen to their favorite audiobook or music while they run… and only listen while they’re running.
  3. Create an easy response: If the runner trains their dog to expect a run every day after work, it will be easy to respond to their excitement.
  4. Create a satisfying reward: The runner could reward themselves with an episode of their favorite show only after their daily run.

Each of these tips works with human nature instead of against it. Anything that feels good, attractive, or easy to remember is more likely to work. Actions that feel stressful, out of sync, boring, or laborious are less likely to work on their own. 

Check out the book Atomic Habits by James Clear for more tips to make new habits easier.

Measurement and Accountability

Consistency with your habits becomes much easier when you track your actions and keep yourself accountable. Momentum has a habit tracker feature you can use, and you can share your progress with a simple screenshot. 

Having a person or a group to stay accountable with makes a huge difference. It’s much harder to rationalize why you shouldn’t do it when you’ve told someone to call you out or hold you accountable for your habit!

Becoming the Person You Aspire to Be

Just like a little kid aspires to be a firefighter or a ballerina, your own psychology responds more to being than doing. 

In the Be-Do-Have model, you focus on becoming someone who naturally does the actions to have the life they want. If you’re being a healthy person, you surround yourself with reminders, images, and people who promote health. You think like a healthy person. You take on new habits one at a time as your action, and over time, you’ll have the results that a healthy person has. It’s tempting to want to skip to the ‘have’ part, but don’t be fooled. That’s not how success works!

At Momentum, we’ve designed our tools to help you keep the person you want to be in view with each new tab. The runner might track their weekly miles run with a habit tracker. The career achiever might keep their work goals in view with todos, and show a date countdown until their next desired promotion. The aspiring traveler might show photos of destinations as their background, and take notes on the places they plan to travel to.

When you can create a structure for your goals through habits, and keep your habits in view every day, you’re much more likely to become the person you aspire to be. 

How have you created habits to help you be successful? We'd love to hear from you :) Shoot us a note @ chandler@momentumdash.com