7 Keys to developing good habits

Developing good habits is hard work.  If you approach it correctly, you can develop good and healthy habits that can propel you beyond any obstacle that stands between you and your goals and dreams.

Developing good habits is not for the faint of heart.

Regardless of if you are wanting to start a new habit of eating healthier, exercising or studying harder, it will take a strong will and determination to develop any new habit.

Sometimes a “Good habit” is simply breaking a bad habit.

I know this point sounds simple, but anyone who has tried to break a bad habit knows it is much harder than it sounds.  However, breaking a bad habit may be all you need to do to change your life for the better.  Put down that cigarette, stop going to the bar every evening, stay away from those “bad” internet websites.  By doing the hard work to make these simple sounding changes, you are developing a good habit that will benefit you and your future.

Replace a bad habit with a good habit.

If your bad habit is drinking too much alcohol or soda, then switch to bottled water.  If your bad habit is eating too much junk food, then start eating salads.  This won’t be easy and you may have to take a drastic step of getting rid of some food and beverages out of your home, but it will be worth it!

Decide on which habits you need in your life.

To ensure you develop the best possible habits that will benefit your future, you first must make sure you know what your end goal is.  For instance, if your end goal is to lose weight the habit you may need to develop is spending fifteen minutes a day running, jogging, walking or working out with weights.

Set realistic habits to develop

If the last time you ran was when you campaigned for an student concil, the decision to start a new habit of running 5 miles a day may be harmful to your health.  Start out with developing the habit of jogging a few blocks at first.  When that becomes too easy for you (and of course check with a doctor before starting any exercise routine) you can increase your habit until you reach the goal of running 5 miles a day.

Don’t try to start more than one new habit at once.

There was a time in my life, I wanted to make some big changes.  I decided that starting the first of the month I was going to a) wake up every morning at 5:30, shave, brush my teeth and take a shower, b) at 6 am I would have breakfast with my wife, c) spend time in prayer before starting to work in my home office at 7:30.  I failed miserably and by the end of the first week I abandoned my new habits.

What I learned from this failure was that when you want to develop multiple new habits, you must baby step them.  Work on just one habit at a time.  Once that habit is so much a part of you that you look forward to doing it, then it will be time to start your next good habit.

Reward yourself for every small step you take.

Developing a habit can take time and you might not see any benefits from your had work for an extended period.  Don’t allow yourself to give up.  Look for even the smallest of change in yourself and compliment yourself for your hard work and dedication.  Thank God for his part and remind yourself that all this will pay off in the future!

Be patient, all good things come in time.

Don’t give up on developing your new habits.  If you fail while trying to stick to your new habit, just start over.  It has been said, and I agree from my own personal experience, that it takes at least three weeks to develop a new good habit.  Unfortunately, it does not take as long to develop a bad habit, so avoid bad habits at all costs!