The best way to catalyze significant change is by relying on highly specific habits and routines and making time for them amid the busyness of life.
Habit formation relies on consistency. Here’s a simple trick to prevent good intentions from slipping.
Suppose that you want to start a daily walking habit. You set a target to go for a walk for at least an hour a day. But some days, this habit might not be doable.
Consistency & Small Habits = Big Results
To prevent slipping on your daily goal and beating yourself up about it, establish two targets: one for the “good” days and one for the “tough” days.
Set the bar very low for when it’s not possible to dedicate an hour to walking. On the tough days, when you’re exhausted, hungry, feeling lazy and unmotivated, or you’re simply not in the mood to walk, you can go for a quick walk. And on good days, when you have more time and energy, go for longer walks. Average out the tough days with the good days.
Make it so easy that you can’t say no to maintaining your habit on the tough days. You’ll decrease your skipped days and sustain the habit’s consistency by lowering your expectations.
Another benefit of having easy-win targets for the tough days is that you nudge yourself into action. Let’s say you target reading an hour a day. On tough days, when you set out to read for just ten minutes, you’ll perhaps get engrossed in more of the task once you get started and find your way into the text. Action begets momentum, and you’ll find it easier to keep going at it.
Idea for Impact: Consistency is the Foundation of Building New Habits
Habits take a long time to create, but they develop faster when you do them more routinely and repeatedly. The more days you skip, the harder it is to get back into the habit. Set the bar low for the tough days and build deep-seated habits.