How to develop good habits

By M.Farouk Radwan, MSc.

How to develop good habits

As a part of my plan to live a healthier life style i decided to start drinking green tea instead of the normal tea i drink everyday.

The problem with developing such a good habit was that i had an intense love for red Tea and that i have always felt that green tea is tasteless.

I decided to drink that tasteless green tea anyways even though i don't like it.
Each day i used to drink one cup of green tea right after eating but one day there were no green tea in the house and i started to feel that something is wrong.

It was clear that i didn't only develop a good habit but i also became used to it to the extent that i felt that something is missing when i couldn't do it.

I decided to drink red tea when i didn't find my green tea but i was surprised when i realized that i didn't like its taste!

We humans are creatures of habit. We get used to certain things when we do them over and over. We even get used to certain tastes just like what happened with my green tea habit.

The first lesson you need to learn about habit formation is that any kind of behaviour can become a habit if you kept doing it over and over and if you were persistent enough.

Getting used to good habits

The human body can adapt itself to any habit and once it gets used to it breaking it would be hard. Even though i didn't like green tea at the beginning i started missing it later on because i got used to it.

The same goes for the gym, at the beginning exercising was an unbearable activity but after some time i started to feel really bad the day i don't exercise.

In my book The ultimate guide to breaking bad habits i said if you want to develop a good habit then you must understand that by sticking to it for a certain period of time it will become a part of your lifestyle and it would be hard for you to break it.

Why do people fail to develop good habits?

People fail to develop good habits because:

  • They give up before they get used to them: Most people who fail to develop good habits have one thing in common which is that they give up before they get used to the habit (see How to become persistent)
  • Thinking that they will suffer forever: In the beginning green tea had no taste but after a while i started to find that it tastes good, it's all about sustaining the habit until you start liking it
  • Giving in to temptation: The hardest part of developing any good habit is the first few weeks. If you managed to sail safely through this period then there is a big chance that you will keep your good habit. Eating a big chocolate instead of the apple you intended to eat in the first few days will certainly ruin your efforts to develop a good habit.

Forget about the 21-day-rule

The 21 day rule states that if you did something for 21 days then it will become a habit. This rule is highly inaccurate because each person is different.

Your ability to develop a new good habit depends on your beliefs, values, genes, will power and so many other things. This is why you can't assume that doing something for 21 days will turn it into a habit.

The good news i have for you is that you might even need less time to develop a good habit. The time needed to develop a certain habit will vary from a person to another but in all cases when you commit to something for sometime then it will turn into a habit.

Steps to develop a good habit

Here are the steps you need to develop a good habit:

  • 1) Remove the old triggers: I used to drink red tea a lot. If i kept red tea in my home then i would be provoking myself all the time. The right way to start a good habit is to eliminate all the triggers associated with the old bad habit you are trying to replace
  • 2) Force yourself to commit in the first few weeks: Force yourself to commit to your new good habit for the first few days or weeks. Shortly you will realize that the habit is becoming a part of your normal routine
  • 3) Use conscious reminders: Use conscious reminders to remind yourself of the new habit you want to develop. In the beginning it might be hard for you to remember your new habit and this is why you need to keep reminding yourself of it. Once you get used to the habit it will become an unconscious process and you will always remember it

The book The ultimate guide to breaking bad habits was released by 2knowmyself. The book will help you get over all bad habits that are haunting you in a short period of time.

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