Turn Your Actions into Habits

While we are striving towards our goals, things would be so much easier if only we could turn some of the positive things we struggle to do into habits that we perform automatically.

A habit is an action, so ingrained that we actually look forward to performing it and feel that something is amiss if we don't. That is why bad habits are so powerful.

Here are three tips to help you use the same power to drive your positive and healthy actions.

  1. Make a plan to build your habits. Before an action becomes a habit, it needs to be repeated regularly. Let's say you have set yourself a goal to become fit by going running regularly. The first thing you must do is set yourself a schedule. To form a habit you will need to look forward over the next two to three weeks and write down on a calendar exactly which days and at what time you are going to go running. Fit it in around your other commitments and choose times when you will not be distracted or persuaded by circumstance to put it off.
  2. Stick to the plan rigidly. This is the most vulnerable phase of the habit forming process. You have the determination, but there are so many things that might deflect you from your goal, that you have to be eternally vigilant and strong willed. Fight against the voices that tell you to stay in bed, or watch that TV program rather than put your shoes on and hit the road. Resist the temptation to have a coffee, or read the paper instead of pounding the streets. Tell yourself that once you have run round the block, then you can do all those things and enjoy them as a reward for your efforts.
  3. Do it for 21 days. There is a theory that once we have repeated something 21 times, then it becomes a habit. In my experience it is possible to experience this effect after as few as 12 repeats but this will vary from person to person and is partly dependent on how much you enjoy what you're doing. Something that you really have to struggle for will take longer. However, you will be amazed at how soon you start to enjoy whatever it is you're doing and how motivated you feel when you see the progress you have made.

So, spend some time thinking about how you can turn your actions into habits. And if you're struggling with something that you know you have to do but don't enjoy, instead of doing it less, try doing it a bit more. Once it becomes a habit, there'll be no stopping you.

  • About

    headshot: David Beroff in St. ThomasDavid Beroff started writing software at the age of 11, and was teaching Computer Science at Rutgers University by the time he was 18. After designing software for two decades, he started his own Internet marketing firm in '95; one of his company's earliest successes was Freedback.com, a free feedback-form service that was later sold to Wondermill.

    Beroff had bought and sold four million voluntary, opt-in email leads generated with properties like LeadFactory and SuperTAF before the business failed in '07. He is the author of the book, Turn Funny Email into CASH!, and is currently developing a new social media site, AboutTh.is.

    He has two grown children, and now lives outside of Scranton with his girlfriend and five cats.

  • Contact

    If you have any questions or concerns about our website and/or our advertising, please feel free to email me directly: David (at) Beroff (dot) com.