The correct ways of building habits that most people forget.
Most of us have wonderful and great goals in life. Some want to have good health, financial success, successful relationship, etc.
But guess what, most of these goals are not met. Why? Here’s the reason.
The human mind is the most powerful tool in achieving success. Whatever you plant in it will become a reality.
However, it can also be your greatest enemy. It can sabotage your goals. Most failed goals are not the result of behavioral errors but due to negative thoughts.
For instance, if you want to have a fit body, you need to spend a considerable amount of time in exercise. But just thinking about your goal, your mind senses the difficulties along the way.
As a result, your mind starts to manifest negative thoughts. Then doubts will start to fill out your conscious mind. The next thing you’ll feel is a discouragement.
Because your mind hates hardship, it will tell your body not to perform the task (e.g. exercising). Therefore, relying on your willpower to achieve something is simply futile.
To achieve a goal, planning is not enough. You need to build necessary habits. And building habits requires internal assessment.
This means that you should be sure what you really want in life. Ask yourself what you really want to achieve. In other words, you need to find your passion.
The internal rewards are key to building habits
Achieving success depends on the kind of motivation you have. Generally, there are two kinds of motivation: intrinsic and extrinsic.
Extrinsic motivation is the external factors that drive you towards a certain goal. For instance, you want to have six-packed abs to look sexy. This is an extrinsic motivation because what motivates you is the external factor – to look good to others.
The reason why most people fail to achieve their goal is that they are not happy doing the work necessary to achieve physical fitness. What motivates them is an external reward, not an internal satisfaction.
Intrinsic motivation, on the other hand, is a type of motivation that stems from the inside.
For instance, if you are intrinsically motivated to achieve a healthy and fit body, you exercise every day not to look sexy to others but because you love to exercise on a consistent basis. In other words, you find fulfillment in doing so.
If you do things because they are externally rewarded, you will most likely fail.
Over the years, scientific findings are consistent – intrinsic rewards are the key to building habits.
For instance, a study published in the journal Sport, and Performance Psychology (2016) found that people who are intrinsically motivated are more likely to succeed.
The first author of the study, Dr. Alison Phillips found that “If exercise is not habit, then it’s effortful and takes resources from other things you might also want to be doing. That’s why people give it up,” said Phillips.
Ways to Building Habits
More than a thousand years ago, Aristotle reminded the world that excellence is a product of habit. The behaviors that you consistently do will become “you.”
Successful people are successful not because primarily of their inner capabilities but because of their habits.
Unfortunately, building habits can be tough. The reason being is that every day we have a limitless amount of choices. The more choices you have, the more distractions there may be.
Building useful habits means limiting your options. You have to focus on the most important things in your life and be guided by them every day.
To grasp some idea of effective habit building, let’s consider some of the suggestions. These techniques will help us to figure out the actionable steps that will keep us on track.
1. Divide a mile-journey into a thousand steps
The reason why most people failed in achieving their goals is that they focus on the end result of their endeavor. They are eager to reach the top instantly. As a result, they tend to do all the workloads in a short period of time.
Unfortunately, along the way, they realize that the required work is simply overwhelming. Then they get discouraged. Doubts set in. Sooner or later, they become convinced that their goal is simply impossible to reach.
To avoid being overwhelmed, what you need to do is focus on smaller things. Break down your goals into smaller steps.
For instance, if you are writing a book, you don’t have to write 100,000 words in a day or in a week. What you need to do instead is to write 1,000 words every day without excuses. In four month-time or less, your book will be completed.
The key point here is consistency. Small acts will add up. A consistent drop of water will fill a glass.
2. Reduce your choices
As mentioned above, building habits require fewer options. This means that you need to focus on the things you really need to do.
For instance, if you want to exercise every day, you need to set a specific time to go to the gym. That specific period of time is for your exercise session. Do not do other things that are not scheduled. This will help you build a routine. And later on, your routine will become your habit.
To sum up, building habits can be easy if you love what you do. It is not about your goal, it is about your passion.
If you are passionate enough, meaning, you are intrinsically motivated, you will reach your goal no matter how small or big it is.
So before setting any goal, ask yourself first. Do you really want to do it? Are you willing enough to give a hundred percent of yourself to achieve it? Are you willing to sacrifice?
If your answers to these questions are no, then, maybe the goal is not worth pursuing.
I’m a licensed psychometrician, author, and blogger. I’m currently working as a University instructor teaching psychology. I love writing and doing psychological research.