3 Simple Steps to Get Hooked on a Habit

A habit becomes well-cemented because it's a priority for achieving your goal.

December 17, 2019

2019 is long gone but I bet you had some exciting moments, awkward exchanges, and maybe disappointments in those 365 days. The details of the day-to-day seem so mundane but when you add them up, they begin to form a clear picture. Let’s not dwell on the past, but take a moment to make a reel of your 2019 highlights. Or you can wait for your Facebook Year in Review.

The details of the day to day seem so mundane but when you add them up, they begin to form a clear picture.

Remember January 1, 2019? Like 99% of the US population, you probably had the intentions of building a new habit i.e. your New Year's resolution. And like 98% of the US population, you suddenly developed amnesia and forgot all about your resolution. Well, 2020 will be different because we’re gonna give you the tools to stick to a new habit like it were gravity.

Forming a habit may seem painful at first but when the habit is formed, it becomes an automatic action. You don’t have to argue with yourself or compromise to get it done. A habit becomes well-cemented because it's a priority for achieving your goal.

A habit becomes well-cemented because it's a priority for achieving your goal.

A study done by Verplanken et al in 2019 (Frontiers in Psychology) looked at out how habits affect our identity and how we see ourselves. They found that when our habits are closely tied to our values and goals, it makes it easier to form the habit. Like our values and goals, we begin to make that habit a part of our identity. More info on this study in our Podcast.

How does this help us stick to our new shiny habit in 2020? Use these 3 simple steps to get hooked on that habit:

Choose a habit that supports your values or goals

It’s easier to enforce a habit that’s tied to one of your values or goals. Remember, the pillars of big goals are made of small daily habits. Try out this template to come up with your habit-goal pair:

Habit: I will [insert habit] because I want to [benefit of habit].

Goal: This will help me [insert ultimate goal].

Habit: I will meditate 5 minutes a day because I want to feel calm and focused.

Goal: This will help me get straight A’s this semester.

Set a trigger to spark your memory

Know how you pick up your phone as soon as you wake up? For many people, simply waking up has become their trigger for checking email or social media. Triggers are really powerful reminders to do something.

Back to my example. Before I go to bed I set my yoga mat in the middle of my bedroom. When I step out of bed in the morning, I see the mat and am immediately reminded to meditate.

Reward yourself

Simple things like seeing a heart popup on your Instagram gives your brain a rush. This reward keeps you coming back to Instagram. To help keep habits alive, reward yourself when you do that habit. Rewards, like habits, don’t have to be extravagant.

I reward myself with a cup of warm coffee with lots of cream after meditating.

The 3 simple steps to get hooked on a habit: support your values or goals, set a trigger, reward yourself(!).

To repeat, habits don’t have to be life-transforming at first. I’m all about ambition but going gluten-free or running 4 miles a day after the holidays isn’t a habit that develops overnight. Big goals are great but let’s get real: big goals are scary and intimidating. Goals are meant to be broken down into small activities. As you complete each activity, you’ll develop confidence and motivation which will fuel your next activity. Eventually, doing the activity becomes a habit you can’t go a day without.

Start off 2020 with solid study habits. Leksi can help by making it super easy for you to listen to your notes, PDFs, or PowerPoints so you can study while you’re in the car or running to class. Login to your library to transform your notes to audio and study on-the-go.


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