6 Powerful Ways to Make Good Habits Stick!
We first make our habits, and then our habits make us.
Do you have that one behavior that you’re just craving to change… but CAN’T?
It could be..
–> Quitting smoking
–> Eating healthier
–> Getting your finances in order
–> Going to the gym etc.
Now, habits are HARD to uproot. You’ve been doing them for year, decades even.
So you can’t expect to change overnight, and chances are your motivation will run
out way before you can install these chances.
So the question isn’t about your motivation, it’s about the SYSTEMS you put in place to make these changes a reality.
And here are 6 proven systems from Darren Hardy’s Book “The Compound Effect” that will help you install the habits you want even if you think you can’t
1. Set Yourself Up to Succeed
Any new habit has to work inside your life and lifestyle. If you join
a gym that’s thirty miles away, you won’t go. If you’re a night owl
but the gym closes at 6 p.m., it won’t work for you. Your gym must
be close and convenient, and fi t into your schedule. If you want to
lose weight and eat healthier, make sure your fridge and pantry are
stocked with healthy options.
One of my most distracting and destructive habits is my e-mail
addiction. Seriously, this is no laughing matter. I can lose hours of
focus every day with the massive amounts of e-mail flooding my
inbox if I’m not vigilant about staying organized and focused.
To set up the discipline of my new habit of only checking e-mail
three times a day, I turned off all alarms, all automatic-receive
functions, and shut the program down when I’m not in one of
those three windows of allocated time. I have to build the walls
around that time vortex, lest I keep falling in all day.
2. Think Addition, Not Subtraction
When I interviewed Montel Williams for SUCCESS, he told
me about the strict diet he maintains because of the disease that
affl icts him, multiple sclerosis. Montel has adopted something
called “The Add-in Principle,” and I think it’s a wildly effective
tool for anyone with any goal.
“It’s not so much what you attempt to take out of your diet,” he
explained to me. “It’s what you put in instead.” This has become his
analogy for life. Instead of thinking that he has to deprive himself,
or take something out of his diet (e.g., “I can’t eat a hamburger,
chocolate, or dairy”), he thinks about what he can have instead
(e.g., “Today I’m going to have a salad and steamed vegetables and
He fills his focus and his belly with what he can have,
so he no longer has attention or hunger for what he can’t. Instead
of focusing on what he has to sacrifice, Montel thinks about what
he gets to “add in.” The result is a lot more powerful.
What can you choose to “add in” so you can enrich your
3. Go for a PDA: Public Display of Accountability
Picture any public official taking the oath of office. “I do
solemnly swear…” and then comes the speech on how she’ll
turn her campaign promises into boots-on-the-ground realities.
Once she puts it out there on the public record, she knows that
she’ll be held responsible for any action that rolls back on her
promises and praised for any progress toward her goals.
Want to cement that new habit? Get Big Brother to watch
you. It’s never been easier with all the social media available.
I heard about one woman who decided to get control of her
finances by blogging about every penny she spends every
day. She’s got her family, friends, and plenty of colleagues
following her spending habits, and as a result of the many eyes
of scrutiny, she’s become far more responsible and disciplined
in her finances.
I once helped a co-worker quit smoking by telling everyone
at the company: “Listen up! Zelda’s decided to stop smoking!
Isn’t that great? She just smoked her last cigarette!” I then
placed a huge wall calendar on the outside of her cubical. Every
day she didn’t smoke, Zelda got to draw a big fat red X on
the calendar. Co-workers took notice and started to cheer her
on, and the parade of big red X’s started to fi ll up the chart,
which took on a life of its own. Zelda didn’t want to quit on
that chart, quit on her co-workers, or quit on herself. But she
did quit smoking!
Tell your family. Tell your friends. Tell Facebook and Twitter.
Get the word out that there’s a new sheriff in town, and you’re
4. Find a Success Buddy
I, for example, have what I call a “Peak-Performance
There are few things as powerful as two people locked arm
and arm marching toward the same goal. To up your chances
of success, get a success buddy, someone who’ll keep you
accountable as you cement your new habit while you return
Partner.” Every Friday at 11 a.m. sharp, we have a thirty-minute
call during which we trade our wins, losses, fixes, ah-has, and
solicit the needed feedback and hold each other accountable.
You might seek out a success buddy for regular walks, runs,
or dates at the gym, or to meet to discuss and trade
personal development books.
5. Competition & Camaraderie
There’s nothing like a friendly contest to wet your
competitive spirit and immerse yourself in a new habit with
a bang. Dr. Mehmet Oz once told me in an interview, “If
people would just walk a thousand more steps per day, they
would change their lives”.
VideoPlus, the parent company for SUCCESS, held a step competition
using shoe pedometers to count steps. Employees organized into teams and competed
to see which team could accumulate the most steps. It was
amazing to me that people who didn’t previously exercise for
their own health or benefit suddenly started walking four, five,
or six miles a day!
At lunch, they walked in the parking lot.
If they knew they had a conference call, suddenly they were
out doing it on their cell phones while they walked! Because
of the competition, they found ways to increase their activity.
Everyone’s steps were tracked, and the whole office could see
who was slacking off and who was stepping up. People’s step
tallies increased every day.
Yet as soon as the competition was over, I was fascinated to
observe that the step count completely dropped off the cliff—by
more than 60 percent just one month after the competition. When
the competition was reorganized again, the step count shot right
All it took was a little competition to keep people’s
engines revved—and they got a wonderful sense of community
and shared experience and camaraderie in the bargain.
What kind of friendly competition can you organize with
your friends, colleagues, or teammates? How can you inject fun
rivalry and a competitive spirit into your new habit?
All work and no play make Jack a dull boy, and it’s a recipe for
backsliding. There should be a time to celebrate, to enjoy some of
the fruits of your victories along the way.
You can’t go through this thing sacrificing yourself with no benefit.
You’ve got to find little
rewards to give yourself every month, every week, every day—eve
something small to acknowledge that you’ve held yourself to a new
behavior. Maybe time to yourself to take a walk, relax in the bath, or read something just for fun.
For bigger milestones, book a massage
or have dinner at your favorite restaurant. And promise yourself a
nice big pot of gold when you reach the end of the rainbow.