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2 Reasons Your Best Efforts to Start Good Habits Fail

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Have you ever gotten excited about a new habit, done it for a day or two, and then never picked it up again?

How did that make you feel? Guilty, disappointed, angry?

Then you look around at the habits you have no problem keeping. Things like eating junk food, watching TV instead of working out, smoking, biting your nails, or hitting the snooze button every morning so you’re always running late.

Why is it so hard to start and maintain good habits, but it’s so easy to pick up bad habits (and maintain them, sometimes, for years!)?

The reason people fail at forming positive new habits is that they don’t have a plan for how to stick to these habits. They end up haphazardly trying one thing, then another – but nothing sticks.

Here’s why:

  1. Habits aren’t specific enough. Here’s an example. A common goal is to be fit. So you say to yourself, “OK, I’m going to exercise.” Then what happens? Maybe you buy a gym membership, or maybe you decide to walk half an hour a day because you read that 30 minutes of exercise a day is a good goal. You do those things for a couple days, maybe a week, and then…you just stop. Why? Because starting an “exercise” habit isn’t specific enough. What does that mean? When do you do it? One thing, and one thing only, will cure the vague problem by giving you specificity.
  2. Habits don’t get you started. Most people who give themselves the goal of making exercise a habit don’t give themselves a starting point. What’s their first step in exercising? Putting on their gym shoes? What’s the #1 thing you need to do to start your habit? Most people don’t think about this, because they don’t know how essential it is.

Again, there’s one solution to this problem. It’s so simple when you know it, but so few people do.

We provide this solution in our Habits Crash Course – an easy, affordable way to start building sticky habits. We do that by giving you a step-by-step system that bypasses the two major problems I just discussed (as well as three more that a lot of people have). As one of our students says:

The Habits Crash Course is not released yet to the public (we had a private beta program for testing it) but we will make it publicly available next month. In the meantime, here are some of our best free resources to help you with your habits:

If you’re a podcast listener (or like to consume our content in audio), here are our recommended The Productivity Show episodes:

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Posted by Steven K.  | February 16, 2016 at 12:31PM | Reply

Another great resource to learn about habits is the best-seller “The Power of Habit” by Charles Duhigg which provides a simple 3-step framework called the “habit loop.” The habit loop consists of a specific cue, a routine and a reward. So in the exercise example, a cue might be putting your running clothes / shoes next to your bed so you’re prompted to exercise first thing in the morning, the routine is going for a morning job, and the reward can be intrinsic like endorphins from exercising or extrinsic like a sweet treat. Great book, highly recommended.

Original book here (~6 hour read):
Summary here (1 hour 20 minute read):–Depth-original-ebook/dp/B019611FP2

Posted by E. Supak  | February 16, 2016 at 1:34PM | Reply

Hi Guys,

It is great to see one of my earlier posts/comments here while reading this blog entry now! I always learn something new when I check your site and re-read your books I have.
Keep up the good work. You rock! :)

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