6 Steps to Build Consistency in Habits

6 Steps to Build Consistency in Habits

We all want to inculcate good habits and drop unhealthy ones. When highly motivated, such as at the start of a new year, on a birthday, we are gung-ho and start with making numerous changes in our lifestyle. As the days pass, and the motivation wanes, it becomes difficult to continue and we slowly get back to our old habits. Here are 6 tips to build consistency in habits. Try them out. Do write back to us with your feedback.

  1. Decide your identity. Who do you want to become? For instance, instead of setting a target of losing 5 kgs, define your identity and then make small changes that are in line with that identity. What does a healthy person do? Eats more home-cooked food rather than eating out, exercises daily, sleeps and wakes up early and so on.

  2. Start with changing only ONE thing. If we take up more than one, it becomes overwhelming and we are likely to fail. You want to read more, do japa and yoga daily, go for walks and sleep early. That’s one too many things. Pick one and see it through for a month. Once that is set, add one more task. And so on.

  3. Create cues to prod you into doing things. The simplest way is to set reminders on your mobile. Keep the things you need handy and easy to access. For instance, if you want to do yoga every day, besides setting a reminder, keep the yoga mat where it is visible and easy to pick. If you want to reduce the use of the mobile, put off all notifications.

  4. Don’t test your willpower. Increase the time taken to respond to a cue or make it difficult to reach. For instance, if you plan to eat healthy, avoid stocking up on processed foods. If you want to reduce the use of the mobile in bed, keep it at least 10 feet away from your bed. It’s far easier to resist what is tedious to get than what is in plain sight and within reach.

  5. Often, the reward for consistency comes much later by which time you may give up. Create an instant reward system such as a tracker sheet. Every time you do the task, put a tick against it. That sense of achievement and reward helps to keep us motivated. You want one more tick, then you don’t want to miss a tick and finally you end up being consistent at it.

  6. Work with a community or a group. Having other people who share a similar goal keeps us going. There is a sense of camaraderie and collective effort. You don’t want to be left out. For instance, if you want to be regular in sadhana, join a sadhana group in person or online. Automatically the group will send reminders of classes, set tasks to do etc.

Chinmaya Udghosh