I desire to wake up earlier, exercise consistently, journal, and rock “Sweet Child of Mine” like Slash (minus the big hair). In order to achieve these desires, there are several habits in my own life that need to change. Yet forming new habits can seem like a daunting task. How does one go about creating new life habits?
I recently read the book, “Atomic Habits” by James Clear. The book is full of nuggets of wisdom. The following is an outline of parts of “The Four Laws of Behavior Change” I found helpful in my goals for habit formation.
- Make it Obvious
Making your desired habit obvious is an important first step. Perhaps it often appears habits fail to develop because of a missing motivation, but really, we often lack clarity. So grab an old-fashioned pen and paper and write down your habit. What is it that you actually want to accomplish in your habit?
- Make it Attractive
You will be much more motivated to form a habit that is rewarding and desirable. Think about why you are forming the habit. If this why of your habit doesn’t sound appealing to you, you may be trying to create the wrong habit.
- Make it Easy
Instant gratification is a great feeling! Thus, a habit that reaps rewards quickly is one we’re more likely to continue performing. The number of times you’ve performed a habit is far more important than the length of time you have been performing it.
- Make it Satisfying
Creating new habits may never be easy. However, the more you align your habits to your natural strengths, the easier and more satisfying the process will be. Also consider: what is the end reward in creating this new habit? Will the new habit be helpful and fruitful in your day-to-day life? Making a satisfying habit will increase the odds of sustaining this habit.
The most important thing to remember when forming new habits is to keep your focus not on what you’ll achieve, but on who you wish to become.
~~Dr. Matt Casperson
Clear, James. Atomic Habits: Tiny Changes, Remarkable Results : an Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones. Penguin Random House, 2018.