Have you ever set out to do something with the best intentions, but struggled to keep the momentum going? When popular American stand-up comedian Jerry Seinfeld started out, he created the habit of writing new material every day using a calendar and a red marker. Whenever he managed to write daily, he would put a big red “X” on the calendar since he didn’t want to see any blank days that “broke the chain.”
If you try implementing a similar technique for almost a month, your new habit will largely be formed. Here are a few steps which will help you form a habit:
Keep a track: Tracking your progress can help. You can use a journal or mobile app to keep a note of things like your diet, exercise or sleep patterns. Seeing your goals on paper will make you believe that they are achievable and also help declutter your mind.
Start small: Setting big goals sounds exciting, but starting with small, realistic goals is more likely to lead you to success. A small goal, for instance, would be to meditate for 10 minutes, walk 15 minutes per day or read four pages of a book each day.
Celebrate small victories: It’s important to reward yourself (get yourself a massage or attend a concert) even if you’ve achieved a small milestone, because that helps you stay consistently motivated.
Think of the long-term: When we look at the big picture, we always tend to stay focused towards achieving our goal. According to Dr. Leonard Epstein, who studies behaviour change and decision-making at the University at Buffalo, some people have a harder time than others resisting their impulses. He calls this “delay discounting,” where you undervalue the bigger benefits of waiting in favour of smaller immediate rewards, which can lead to overeating, substance abuse, drinking or shopping too much, among other risks.
Surround yourself with positivity: If you want to make big things happen in your life, you should avoid pessimists who bring you down and surround yourself with people are genuinely going to stand by you throughout.