Here are five simple steps to help build a successful habit, by Laura Vanderkam.
4. Build the Habit
This is the most important step. Turning a desire into a ritual requires willpower. Use these fives steps to optimize your routine:
- Start slowly: Go to bed and wake up fifteen minutes earlier for a few days until this new schedule seems doable.
- Monitor your energy: Building a new habit takes effort, so take care of yourself while you’re trying. Eat right, eat enough, and surround yourself with supportive people who want to see you succeed.
- Choose one new habit at a time to introduce: If you want to run, pray, and write in a journal, choose one of these and make it a habit before adding another.
- Chart your progress: Habits take weeks to establish, so keep track of how you’re doing for at least thirty days. Once skipping a session feels like you forgot something–like forgetting to brush your teeth–you can take your ritual up a notch.
- Feel free to use bribery: Eventually habits produce their own motivation, but until then, external motivations like promising yourself concert tickets can keep you moving forward. And keep in mind that your morning rituals shouldn’t be of the self-flagellation variety. Choose things you enjoy: your before-breakfast ritual has the potential to become your favorite part of the day.