This is the second post of the Author’s Case Study series. For the first post (Introduction) click here.
Picking a habit is easy; making it stick is not.
This statement seems logical. It feels so obvious that thousands of people believe that picking a habit is trivial. Unfortunately, to uncover the real meaning of the above sentence, it should be rephrased.
When picking a habit is easy, making it stick is not.
Single additional word explains it all. Picking a habit is an essential part of making habit stick. If you do it right, you are already half way into successful habit formation. On the other hand, if you do it wrong, you sabotage your habit creation.
Small effort put into picking right is worth ten times the work on formation of poorly chosen habit. Sonner you understand it, sooner and easier you create good habits.
Many advices on picking a habit are useless
When someone tells you that picking a habit is easy and doesn’t require any brainwork, turn around and go elsewhere. Picking a habit is not easy, but becomes simple when you follow right principles.
Sadly, many habit books and courses don’t even touch these principles. Instead they introduce a bunch of bullet-proof habits of successful people to pick from. Those habits are great, but how do you decide to choose the right one from the list? Authors often underrate this serious question and suggest to:
Choose the habit that you like
Choose the habit that resonates with you
Choose the habit that feels right
Choose the habit that seems important
These suggestions are OK, especially when combined in a single approach. But they have a shared flaw as they rely on your intuition and don’t provide any insight into the process of actual choosing. They don’t really show you how to pick the habit right. Instead they reiterate the “go by your gut” advice in order to make it look more valuable.
Fortunately, you can forget about these mediocre advices and get what you really need by reading Habit Launch book or even this short article.
How I picked a habit for this author’s case study
Forming a habit is a personal action; no one can form a habit for you. Therefore you should look at your own life before anything else. In Habit Launch book you could find various life aspects that are most important to concentrate on. For the purpose of this Case Study, before picking actual habit, I briefly look at below factors:
- My wants
- My needs including their position on my individual pyramid of needs
- My motivations
- My current situation
- My predispositions
- My short term and long term objectives
Of course, your case will be different as no two people are the same. However, just like me, you need to start every analysis with the word “my”. Knowing that, we can jump into my notes concerning above points.
Let’s start from my situation. Since quitting a running routine year ago, my form slowly but steadily decreased. Unfortunately, I cannot return to running without sacrificing other parts of my life. But I don’t want to suffer from a drop of fitness level too. Infrequent activities do many good for my health but I cannot rely on them in the long term. What I need is a new habit.
Let’s see how should it look.
In a long term, it must increase my fitness level.
In a short term, it must provide enough complexity to make it useful for this case study (In fact it will be purposely overcomplicated just to show you more of the process).
My need and motivation is to get more energy and health for other activities.
I want the habit to be simple, short and easy to incorporate into my day.
Additionally, I need a habit that can:
- Provide proper activation of the whole body
- Energize me to face the challenges of the new day
- Offer a possibility to upgrade exercises from easy versions to more advanced ones.
Looking above, it is clear that forming 15-minute mourning exercise routine is the obvious and most promising goal from my personal point of view.
As you see, the secret of picking habit right is not fancy or complicated. All you need is a proper analysis of your case with the most important word in mind (“my”).
When mission of picking a habit is complete, most people impatiently start to form the chosen habit. Unfortunately, it’s an unwise thing to do. For the most efficient use of your effort you should first verify if the habit is the correct choice by analyzing its pros and cons. How to do it correctly is the topic of the next article in this series- Analysis of the habit.
This article supplements my book: “Habit Launch: 10-Step Formula to Tailor Routines You Love to Perform and Skyrocket Your Well-being” by Gregor Moniuszko. For checking it out, click here.
Click Here for the next post of the Author’s Case Study series.