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3 tips for habit development

Sunday, March 03, 2013

As we blog about habits this week, and I have read already many blogs about habit development, I thought to share some experience I gathered in the past two years.

1. A SMALL ACTION goes a long way
Think about a small action to form a new habit. Instead of 1h exercise, just stick to a 10 minutes. Instead of eating healthy meals, stick to eat an apple every day. Once the small action is established in your daily routine, you can scale it up.

>Last year I decided to brush teeth immediately after breakfast, to clean away the food taste from my mouth, and reduce hunger. It sounds like a very silly, and small step towards a healthy lifestyle. However, it had great benefits - it closes the meal, prevents further hunger, encourages me to stay away from food for longer (instead I drink). And, it's great for my teeth!

2. TRACKING is key
I experienced that if I track daily whether I did my new action or not, it increases my success rate to double. It can be different ways of tracking, in a paper diary, on an A4 sheet on the wall, in a smartphone app, or here in SP.

>I have friends, who's natural tendency is to play with Excel sheets in their free time. I don't have this built-in data eating desire, but I realized that tracking improves my success rate, so I do it. Usually I stick a paper on the wall, so I can see it every day.

3. Use a DEFINED PERIOD to form the habit
I see that I need approx. 1 month to arrive to a level when I have almost zero resistance to do my new action, so I usually do 30 day periods. During this period, I do the action no matter what. After this period, if I don't like it in the end, I abandon it, but during this period, I contract myself to do it anyway.

>When I started with running, I decided to get out to run every day for 10 minutes, no matter what. Now, I don't run every day, I think it's healthier for me to run every other day, or to make 5 day strikes and then 2 days off. However, to get into the habit of running, for 30 days, I ran every day. I remember I was on a business trip in Germany during that 30 days. Our meetings finished very late, and by the time I had time for myself, it was already 1 am. I was the only single person in the dark streets, and I only ran 10 minutes exactly, not a second more, but I did it.

Today we went to Lassnitzh÷he, and made a 2h walk in the neighbourhood. The sun was strong, it was fresh, and the air was amazingly clear!

Do you have some tips for habit development from your experience?
Please share it here, I would be happy to hear about it!

Member Comments About This Blog Post:
CAROLLEE57 3/4/2013 9:35AM

    Thank you for the Tips!

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NUOVAELLE 3/4/2013 2:50AM

    Great advice on new habits establishment! Experts say it takes 21 days to really establish a new habit. I believe this is too simplified and it depends on how many old habits you have to fight in order to practice your new one!
Thank you for the tips!

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LESLIE_2B_LESS 3/4/2013 12:09AM

    Good ideas - for 1 I always brush my teeth when I first wake up... so that after breakfast thing doesn't work. I can't eat if I don't brush first. Are you talking about doing it a 2nd time?

Tracking is of course a very good thing - I find I do so much better when I commit to tracking.

Good idea to put a time period on the goal!

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NOTSPEEDY 3/3/2013 11:08PM

    Great ideas. Thanks for sharing.

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DOINITRIGHT2012 3/3/2013 7:28PM

    Excellent Blog, and thanks for stopping by mine. I use the desktop to track on SP, but I have a "Body Minder" journal that I have been handwriting things in so I can take them with me to my medical appointments. I do have a tablet, and I love to get on it while I'm on the treadmill, but it does a horrible job with searching foods. Time wise, the desktop is more efficient.


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TPETRIE 3/3/2013 6:18PM

  Thankyou for sharing.You had some great tips. Also I hope you enjoyed the spotlight yesterday.

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FITFOODIE806 3/3/2013 5:49PM

    Great blog! I love the thought of you running at 1am. That's dedication!
My advice is to be specific. Set a measurable goal. I will drink more water. Or, I will exercise more. They are too vague. But, I'm also a numbers girl, so this has worked well for me.

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MELBBART 3/3/2013 5:22PM

    Great advice!!

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JEFEIST 3/3/2013 5:16PM

    I appreciate your insight. Would you compare new habit forming to goal setting - at least in the area of being SMART?

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BLUEROSE73 3/3/2013 5:01PM

    It looks so beautiful there. I am glad you were able to get out and enjoy it.

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EMMACORY 3/3/2013 4:41PM

    Thanks for sharing your tips. They contain much wisdom. I'll be using them.

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2016ISTHEYEAR 3/3/2013 4:28PM

    Great blog with some great tips. Thanks for sharing with us!

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ALDEBARANIAN 3/3/2013 4:26PM

    Thanks. Very helpful.

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    emoticon blog !

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LYNNIERN 3/3/2013 4:13PM

    Excellent blog and some really great, practical and easy to initiate tips. The picture is beautiful also! emoticon

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POPSY190 3/3/2013 4:12PM

    This is a terrific blog. The steps you take to form a habit and then to decide whether or not to continue are practical and useful. emoticon emoticon

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