When I was just a boy, I recall my mother always warned me not to “get in the habit of” doing this or that.
Guess what? I’d usually get in the habit of doing exactly what she told me not to do.
It wasn’t a conscious decision or me being a foolishly rebellious child, I had a craving for all things related to fun, food, and games.
Things like drinking soda quickly and easily became a habit. Why? It’s a question we often find ourselves asking. Why are some habits easier to build than others?
In this post, I would like to discuss a possible technique that could drastically transform your ability to build important habits in a seriously short space of time.
Ironically, the foundation of this technique relies heavily on time itself.
Secondly, we’ll go through an alternate system designed for individuals who are working on a very tight schedule.
Let’s get started!
LEVERAGING ALL YOUR TIME FOR RAPID GROWTH
Over the last 3 months, I took it upon myself to test different strategies for habit formation.
My aim was to decipher a factor or pattern that contributed the most to significant growth and development in physical skill as well as critical thoughts for a given habit.
What I found is that an imbalanced amount of time spent on a singular activity generated the most results compared to anything else!
Much like someone who generates a desire for soda, one can a year is never enough. The more you give into the craving and curiosity of drinking a can of soda, the more you do.
As time goes on, a once off scenario transforms into a daily occurrence.
There weren’t any intentional habit building techniques on your part. It happened almost organically. Why? Because you indulged yourself at random times and sacrificed your usual beverage in exchange for a can of soda.
In other words, an abandonment of regular activities in exchange for just one activity results in the formation of a habit in record time.
Weirdly enough, when I transitioned back into my normal routine, I thought it would be difficult to make time for my new habit. Shockingly, I was able to find a slot in my day for this new habit (which happened to be designing images).
Common self-development advice centers around finding balance in multiple areas of life but this way of being can often result in slow and gradual growth which doesn’t always suit our needs and expectations.
Contrary to popular belief, balance doesn’t guarantee growth in key areas of life.
We often overlook the early hustle of wildly rich entrepreneurs. Sure, these days they work 4 hours a week but during the early years, these are the men and women who were working 7 days a week and 365 days a year.
Work hard now so that you can relax in the future!
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Rather than taking a slow approach, an almost obsessive approach to habit building will generate results in a much shorter space of time.
There are a few reasons for this.
- When all your time and energy is spent on one activity, the distractions that usually accompany a balanced routine aren’t present so you have more time to pick up on critical aspects that would ordinarily take you much longer to decipher.
- Prolonged physical action generates muscle memory. Your body adapts and grows more accustomed to certain feelings, experiences, and reactions associated with an activity you spend most of your time engaging in.
- You condense 90 days worth of learning into 4 weeks. Results obviously come faster!
Since I’m a writer, I have the luxury of using this approach and generating rapid results.
In fact, I’m about to experiment with a 50-day body transformation challenge from the 26th of June. Over the last few weeks, I’ve put on about 10kgs of fat! This challenge will test whether or not I can drop those 10 kgs, put on some muscle and get rid of this new found belly I now sport (sigh).
To summarize this insanely result based technique, if you leverage all your time, focus and attention towards a specific activity for a period of more than 2 weeks, the likelihood of it becoming a habit skyrockets and so do the results.
But, for someone who doesn’t have the luxury of utilizing this approach, I’m going to share a system or guide for building habits, that if followed, will definitely aid you in developing habits and accruing standard results.
The Step By Step Guide On Building Habits At A Traditional And Steady Pace
Step 1: Measure Your Abilities Or Lack Thereof
Growth is pointless if you are unaware of it. The reason for this is that the awareness of progress sparks motivation and inspiration.
Knowing full and well that you have successfully transitioned forward will boost your confidence, encourage effort and keep you sane while building a lifelong habit.
The point of this exercise isn’t to judge yourself but to assess. An assessment is meant to gage your abilities knowing that you aren’t at a high level. It is a completely objective step that will serve as a comparison for when you become more skilled at your given habit.
Don’t beat yourself up if you’re no good at all.
This is not the time for that! I tend to remind myself of one very important piece of advice – Nobody is born with the ability to drive stick (lol). Everyone has to learn, everyone sucks at first and practice does indeed make perfect.
There’s no need to judge yourself yet. We’ll save that for later!
Step 2: Identify The Most Important Action To Practice
When learning something new, it’s easy to sway towards the easiest action under the disguise of it being the action you need to practice. But, in reality, most of us sadly run from the difficult action which also happens to be the most important action in a habit!
For instance, newbie writers may avoid the action of writing and fixate on supplementary actions like planning or editing.
Similarly, dressmakers may avoid sewing in exchange for sketching outfits.
You’ll waste time doing this and cheat yourself of results in the long run. What I advise you to do is be brave and objectively identify the most important action to practice that will create the habit you are targeting.
Ignore supplementary activities until a later time.
Step 3: Allocate A Set Amount Of Time To Practice Daily
Structure almost always guarantees results. Ask yourself why? Most habits follow a particular set of actions!
For instance, getting into the habit of sketching requires putting pencil to paper. It’s a structure that never waivers and is irreplaceable. There’s no way to get around it. Similarly, creating a time-based structure allows you to not only develop habits faster but to grow accustomed to the change in your routine.
Soon, that habit you’ve added to your day becomes a set part of your routine. At that point, giving it up is a thought that will barely, if ever, cross your mind. Pretty cool, right?
Allocate anywhere between 60 – 120 minutes a day.
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Step 4: Measure Your Progress Weekly
I always find that by tracking my progress, my ability to adapt, stay motivated and work consistently strengthens week after week.
At the end of the day, doing the same thing every single day can become monotonous and boring. Ironically, in the boring is where most people find growth, results, prosperity and success.
So, when it comes time to track your progress, make it a non-negotiable activity in your week!
Grab a piece of paper, sit down and make physical notes.
Step 5: Up-Challenge Yourself Biweekly
Here’s where things get really interesting. If you do the same thing week after week, you’ll accrue results! There’s no doubt in that. But that result starts to seem less significant as times goes on because you’re becoming better and better at that particular habit.
This plateau appears in almost every single person’s life. It’s nothing to break your head over! Trust me, it’s just a new set of circumstances that need to be overcome.
You can overcome plateaus by up challenging yourself.
What this means is that when you reach a new set point (a new base level of progress – for example 20kg dumbbells rather than 5kg), then you challenge yourself by doing twice of what you’re now capable of doing in the same amount of time.
Trust me, by up challenging yourself every 2 weeks you will blow through plateaus with absolute EASE!
Step 6: Rinse And Repeat
There’s nothing more to developing a habit. I kid you not. Don’t waste your time overloading your brain with information when true results in life are generated through pure action.
If you follow this system over and over again, building habits will be nothing more than a walk in the park.
Go to step 1 – 5 again and again until you develop a bunch of habits that will transform your life!
Take It Over
I genuinely hope you take the insights from this post and apply it to your life because I promise you, the results will be worth it.
March forward and take on the day. Pop into the comment section and let me know which habit you’re trying to build!