We all know habits are hard to form, so here’s a 4-step guide on how to form those habits that will help you reach where you want to be.
Step #1: Form “micro quotas” and “macro goals”
You’re dreaming big, you have your goal. Whether it’s to lose weight or master using your database system, you know what your aim is. But what are the minimum amounts of work you need to do every day to make your dream a reality?
These are your “micro quotas”. They make each day approachable, and your goal achievable. They are important, because they help you be more consistent, and are impossible to fail.
Having smaller commitments mean that psychologically you are more likely to think the tasks are reasonable, and therefore spend more time doing them – even the ones you don’t enjoy! For example, you could decide that you will spend no more than 5 minutes at the end of each day updating information for a client in your database. After a few weeks, you may think “I’ve done my 5 minutes, but I only have a little bit left to log for a second client. I’ll just do it now.” Before long your 5 minutes becomes 10 minutes, or 20.
After all, if you can endure 5 minutes you can endure another 5 minutes.
Step #2: Focus on the small wins
The key to habit developing is to focus on small wins. If you make time to acknowledge that you have met your micro quotas for the day, the positive reinforcement will make you want to meet your quota again tomorrow.
Step #3: Anchor your new habit to one that you’ve already established
Habits stick more quickly when you link them to your current routine, so create a behaviour chain by anchoring new habits to established ones.
For example, if you’ve always wanted to try meditation, but haven’t blocked out a time during your day to do it, you could try it while you’re commuting. This anchors the meditation to the commute, which is already part of your routine.
You can also try the ‘if – then’ method. For example, it could be useful for someone wanting to reduce their carb intake to think: “If it is lunchtime, Then I will only eat meat, vegetables, and fruit”.
This method can be to prepare for obstacles too (“I don’t have time” is one we are all guilty of having used at some point!):
“If I don’t have time at the end of my day to update the system, Then I will do it first thing every morning, before I make my first phone call”
Step #4: Create accountability for your habit
Tell the team you’re creating a new habit, so they support you and hold you accountable. Research has shown that you’re more likely to alter your behaviour and commit to a change if you are aware that you’re being observed (The Hawthorne Effect). Simply knowing you will be held accountable for your habit helps keep you focused and consistent.
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Charlotte Robinson, Administrator