Not to brag, but I’m really good at starting (and sticking with) new habits, completing goals, seeing projects through, etc. It’s partially my Type A personality refusing to accept failure as an option, but it also has a lot to do with knowing myself and knowing what actually works to make habits stick. Here are five tips I’ve learned through the years of habit-forming and reading about habits about how to make habits last.
Set a SMART goal
The best kind of habit has a SMART goal at its center. SMART goals are goals that are specific, measurable, achievably, relevant and time-based. SMART goal-based habits are more effective because you can follow them through. For example, instead of making it a habit to “be healthier” make it a goal to exercise three times a week at a particular studio that you know you like. Similarly, don’t make goals or try to form habits if they aren’t relevant to your life because you’ll lose the desire to complete them fast. For example, I’m a librarian. It doesn’t mean sense for me to try and build a habit where I write twenty lines of coding each day. Similarly, coders wouldn’t try to form a habit of reading for 20 minutes before bed. Know thyself, because if you don’t, you’ll only let yourself down.
I’m very vocal about my habits, my goals, and my projects, both online and in real life. Before I started doing yoga, I told all my friends. Now, they bring it up, and even sometimes come with me. It helps with accountability. In July, I pledged to read 100 children’s books. So, I tweeted about it, making a thread of each book for the month. Not only did I complete my goal because I was ashamed of people realizing I hadn’t, but I also had some great conversations about the books I was reading.