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Some high-profile business owners are notorious for having daily routines that build good habits, like going to the gym or waking up early, but more often than not, the stressors of day-to-day business build bad habits that compound on each other over time. Therefore, it is imperative that you address this now and develop good, productive habits.
Building good habits is something that can bleed into both your personal and professional life, so try using these three tips to build good habits that you can sustain in the years to come.
You can’t develop habits if you don’t give them time to stick. Schedule out your day so that you have a little bit of time each day to work toward your new habit. It could be something as simple as scheduling five minutes to floss or half an hour to read a new book. If you include this on your calendar, complete with notifications and alarms, you will have an easier time remembering.
Start by making your goal small but achievable. Everyday wins are what create progress, at least in the beginning. If you are consistently hitting your deadlines and goals, you can safely expand your goal by making it a bit more challenging. For example, you might write 200 words a day right now, so increase that to 300 words a day. If you start to struggle with this, an accountability partner can help you by checking on your progress every now and then.
Making your good habits easier to stick to makes them more sustainable in the long run. For example, if someone wants to lose weight, keeping frozen vegetables in the freezer is a great way to work toward that goal by allowing you to make more healthy choices. If your freezer is stocked with unhealthy snacks like pizza rolls and ice cream, on the other hand, the person might be more tempted to indulge themselves more often. For a more business-related example, many business owners try to make more time for reading. You can make this easier by keeping a book on your work desk or at your coffee table at home. This will make it easier to just pick it up and read a little bit here and there.
On the same token, adding resistance to the bad habits makes them harder to stick to, giving you more chances to break them. For the healthy eating example, keeping sweets and other unhealthy foods out of the house, or in the back of the cupboard where they are out of sight, can be an effective deterrent. As for the reading example, you can eliminate time-wasting activities by making them harder. Put your television remote in a drawer or, in a worst-case scenario, take the batteries out. All of this effort will make it harder and less worth it to pursue the bad habit.
Sticking to a good habit should be enough of a reward, but some habits are simply not attractive enough, even if they are good for you and your health. For a fitness goal, if you want to make going to the gym three times a week more attractive, you can give yourself a small reward for doing so. For a reading goal, knowing that you can do something you enjoy after muscling your way through your daily pages can make all the difference.
That said, you don’t want to turn these small rewards into enabling bad habits. If you make the rewards too attractive, you might feel tempted to just skip the habit-building activity altogether and jump straight to the reward, which is not what you are trying to do here.
If you aren’t sure that you can build a habit in the long term, you can instead commit to something in the short term. Try something as short as sticking to a habit for 30 days. If you use the tips above, you might find that it is easier to do than you previously thought. Plus, if you think you can go longer, why not try?
At the end of the day, it takes time for true change to take hold, so we encourage you not to feel discouraged when results don’t immediately make themselves apparent. Remember, you are in this for the long haul.
What are some good habits that you plan to build for the future? Your future is waiting for you.
Troy is a life-long entrepreneur who is passionate about helping business owners solve complex business problems with technology. He enjoys sharing knowledge to help other businesses succeed.
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