Habits 101: What you Really Need to Know in a Nutshell
Here is a quick summary of the elements that will help you form habits and stick with them. It’s all about stacking all the odds in your favour.
For me, forming a new habit means setting the scene for a new part of my identity. I borrow a leaf from chefs and create a ‘mise-en-place’.
‘Mise-en-place’ is a French culinary phrase that means ‘putting in place’. It refers to the detailed set-up required before cooking: gathering all the ingredients needed, measuring them and preparing them so they are ready to be used. That way the cooking — your new habit — can be done with focus and efficiency.
- Take a few moments to think about what you want your habit to look like. I walk a lot but I wanted to add a few minutes of a more intense workout in the morning to kickstart my metabolism early in the day. I don’t have much time for it as I already have a long morning routine. I, therefore, selected a series of 7-minute HITT sessions that I bookmarked on YouTube. Done! I can go straight to it; no thinking involved.
- Decide on a time and place for your new habit. What will it follow? A habit is more likely to stick if it is part of a sequence of tasks you already do automatically. When you do this, you then do that.
- List everything you will need, gather them and ensure that they are ready and easy to grab when you need them. I keep my trainers and socks next to my sleepers so when my brain is a bit foggy and I go to put on my sleepers, I remember that I need to do my workout. The rest of what I need is in a drawer in the bathroom which is the first place I go to. I’m now already in gear, I may as well do it.
- Make it attractive. You have to brush your teeth every day, but toothpaste manufacturers know that this habit will benefit from being a bit more satisfying so they add mint and colour to it. What can you do to glam up your habit?
- Keep it to a minimum for a few weeks. It is such an important investment to not do as much as you aspire to do for a little while. In the long run, it will pay dividends. What you want is to form the habit, create a space and time for it so do as little as possible so that you don’t feel that it’s challenging or tedious. When the habit has become part of your…