Find it difficult to build a new habit? You may have been applying the wrong strategy all this while. Learn about a foolproof way to form effective habits and achieve success in life
Ritesh Agarwal, CEO, Oyo rooms; Divya Gokulnath Co-founder Byju’s; Ankit Bhati, Co-founder, Ola; Richa Kar, Founder, Zivame; Amit Jain, CEO, Car Dekho; Sriharsha Majety, CEO, Swiggy.
Can you guess what is common among all these young entrepreneurs?
They all represent different start-ups evolved from different ideas, having different personalities with different thought processes, yet they all have one thing in common i.e. their HABITS.
They all are early birds, who rise between 6 and 7 am, they all exercise, gym, run or walk, and all of them read some motivational book in the morning before they hit their place of work. Not to forget, they all attribute their success to their effective habits.
Habits form our personality and our identity; they make us happy or unhappy, successful or unsuccessful.
A habit is a certain behaviour, which is repeated over a period of time to get ingrained in us. It can be anything – a habit of an addiction, a habit of reading, a habit of taking stress or getting angry easily, a habit of keeping fit, or a habit of taking things negatively or positively.
How many of you promise yourself every day to change your wrong habit(s) and build new ones? But finding it difficult, exhaustive and frustrating, give up on it? That’s because you are applying the wrong strategy.
So, what should be the strategy to form new habits?
Here are the four simple, researched and proven steps from the New York Times bestselling book, “Atomic Habits” by James Clear:
i) Make it Obvious
- Give clear and obvious instructions to your brain about starting a new habit.
- Set a fixed time and location for the activity (like reading or exercising), which you are going to start.
- For example, from July 1st, 2020, I will start exercising in the morning between 8 am–9 am for a minimum of five minutes every day.
ii) Make it Attractive
- Attach a factor of fun or reward with the new habit.
- Think of what all you will be able to do when you have formed a new habit.
- For example, if you form a new habit of getting up early, you can go cycling or go to the gym in the morning as well as can have ample time to get ready for the office.
iii) Make it Easy
- Take a baby step every time; start with the tiny habits. Start with five minutes every day. Yes, I am serious! And you can afford it, right?
- Long-term goals are daunting and difficult to achieve. Keep a very small target your mind knows you can achieve easily.
- Practice the new habit consistently even it is for five minutes every day and extend the time gradually once you get into the process.
- Make things easily available to you to start the habit. Keep your book you are planning to start reading, placed at a prominent place in the room.
iv) Make it Satisfying
- When you are rewarded, you feel satisfied and happy. When you are satisfied and happy, you tend to repeat the behaviour.
- Immediate reward brings a feeling of immediate success, even if it is a small one.
- Make yourself happy by rewarding with a small incentive or positive feedback every time you take action to form a new habit.
These four steps form a habit loop. So, follow them every day without fail, as a ritual. The loop must not be broken. The key to building a habit is ‘Small, Consistent and Continuous Action’.
(The writer is an accomplished life skills trainer and grooming expert.)