What, How and Why of Habits - Part 2
In my previous post, I spoke at length about What are the 3 major buckets in which Habits are divided.
Habits for mental health
Habits for intellectual growth
Habits for being a better human
Once you know that, you have to choose the habits that you want to form under these buckets. Choose the habits that connect to you, fits in your schedule or you can fit in your schedule, help you progress with your goals but most importantly a habit purpose. Make sure the list is concise other wise chances of not following couple of them is high.
WHY : It is very important to have a strong reason / purpose / "Why" behind developing the habit otherwise, the receptiveness of the activity which you want to develop as a habit will soon become mundane and boring and the drive to continue the momentum will be lost. Mind's excuse mechanism will kick in and soon you will start postponing it or skip couple of days from your schedule which will land you to where you started. Any thing to be pursued persistently and consistently, one need to have the connect, purpose and vision.
Now pen down what and why, next thing we want to do is figure out how to develop these habits and most importantly how to sustain the same.
HOW : There are various ways to develop habit but there will be only few ways that will work for you to sustain the same. There is no one sure shot method. There are multiple methods and you need to figure out what works for you.
Develop a schedule :- You need to have some schedule if you want certain habit to develop and eventually make it your way of living. For e.g. Let's say you penned down reading newspaper, reading article / blog of your area of expertise as part of your Habit plan for improving your intellectual capability. Make a schedule, at the beginning - concept of "Whenever I get time" would not work, you will need a fixed schedule. Another principle I follow - "Start Small and Make it Big" If you are not a regular at reading and you have scheduled everyday 30 mins then may be in the beginning it might be easy to keep up because its new and exciting. But eventually, it will become difficult to keep up. So start small - keep any schedule that works for you and it should not seem to be "a task", it should be fun. Schedule like 1 article / news a day for a week and make it 2 per day next week / keep 30 mins one day a week would look easy. Keep it consistent first and then add on, eventually it will be big and way of life.
Make a plan :- Your habit plan should have What, Why and How covered with a schedule for each habit. This will let you know how much time and energy you are spending on your own development collectively. Once you have the list, group the similar habits in the similar time slots, For e.g. Newspaper reading followed by Sudoku or meditation followed by learning music instrument, Gym followed by reading time, etc...
Be Vocal :- The more you tell people what you are upto, the more committed you are. if you are an introvert, let your close group of people know. At least for the initial period, Keep it in front of your eyes where it is visible most part of day. I had the table of my habits in front of me as screen saver on my laptop, a copy of it in my bedroom near by bed where it is visible right before going to sleep. This helps to be committed to your habits not only consciously but also at subconscious level.
Visualise :- When you close your eyes, you should be able to see yourself more confident by making progress on your goals through these habits. Extending the above example when you have developed reading as habit:- Are you able to see making intelligent conversations about current scenario / subject related discussion with friends and peers? If the answer is Yes, you will be motivated enough to keep pursuing the same.
Reward yourself :- If reading has become your habit, don't shy from indulging yourself in discussions on similar topics with your group; If you are not having such group, find one and be part of it. Similarly, Yoga and Meditation is your habit, be part of such groups, there are many groups or free, you can also make a habit buddy. It's a way of recognising yourself. Give yourself a pat at the back, share your progress with others (You have social media if you are distant), allow them to give you a pat at your back too. You will feel more motivated, dedicated and energised.
Remember MIND PLAYS TRICKS :- it's easy to start of a habit but over a period of time we start finding excuses like It's difficult, no time, exhausted, will do tomorrow, etc.. at this time when you speak to yourself and say "MIND is Playing Tricks" don't let it win. If it helps write it down somewhere you can see in BOLD. Set an affirmation to yourself before sleeping that "MIND will play tricks and I will not let it happen".
Choose a working Principle :- There are many principles, choose the one that you can adapt, be realistic. There are principles like :- 20/20/20 Principle / 90/90/1 Rule / 60 /10 method. (read Robin Sharma's methods for Super human productivity), Rating method - To rate your progress, etc..
Journaling helps :- Writing about what you did and how, challenges faced and what you did differently helps. Penning down helps to see with microscopic view and analyse the gap and find a method that works by filling up this gap.
Help someone in the process :- When you help some one else develop their habit or make progress on their goals, You are fuelling the energy back to progress on your habits.
Find the fun :- Whatever you do, enjoy. Find the moments of fun in Habits. The hype around habits is so toxic that often people forget to have fun. Life is just once, enjoy your habits, enjoy the moments spent while developing the same.
I am no master yet, I also started some new habits, made progress on many habits, failed at many, modified and restarted many. It's a journey and I love every part of it. Some habits have become part of my life, while the struggle continues for many. But here is me making helping someone in process. :)
Atomic Habits by James Clear
The Power of Habit by Charles Dughigg