7 Ways to Finally Build Habits that Stick.

Source: https://medium.com/
By: Sinem Günel
Photo by Joshua Earle on Unsplash

I am a strong believer that if you manage to build the right habits you will succeed in whatever you do.

Establishing habits and sticking to them requires a lot of willpower and dedication.

However, once you manage to stick to them, your life will become better in many ways.

We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit. — Will Durant

Micro Quotas — Macro Goals

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Admittedly I was a bit confused when I first heard this term. However, it makes absolute sense.

In short: Micro Quotas — Macro Goals means that you should have a big vision that you are working towards and identify the micro steps that you can take every day.

It is proven, that big goals and a vision lead to intrinsic motivation.

We all know that working on something that has a meaning to us is easier than working on stuff that seems useless and unnecessary.

If you want to build habits, it makes sense to be aware of the big picture.

Why are you trying to build this habit? How will you benefit from it?

What is the end-goal? Why is this habit beneficiary for the rest of your life?

Once you know the big vision and know what you are actually working on, it will be easier to make small steps every day.

The micro quotas are basically those small steps that you should make each and every day. The minimum amount of work that it takes to achieve your goal.

Small steps might not seem like a big deal but if you build a habit and if you stick to it every day, the big goal will become achievable.

Know your big why. What are you ultimately working towards? Keep your big vision in mind. What is the minimum amount of work that you can do every day? The goal is to deliver this minimum of work every day. Small steps will add up to a huge impact in the long run.

Behavior Chains

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Behavior Chains are a great way to profit from the habits that you already have in your life.

Behavior chains are a ‘’what-if’’ plan.

You simply use an established habit as a trigger for a new one.

Let’s say that you want to implement the habit of stretching for 10 minutes every day.

I am sure that you are brushing your teeth at least once a day. So you could simply connect the stretching activity to brushing your teeth. Every time you brush your teeth you would remember to do some stretching afterward.

You can do this with any kind of habit. You basically have to choose something that you have already established into your daily life and connect the new habit to it.

Identity-based habits

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Working on identity-based habits is a great way to identify the habits that you want to implement.

This concept is basically a reverse-thinking.

First, you try to imagine your future and the person that you want to become in the long run.

What are your goals?

What do you want to achieve?

Want do you want to be successful at?

Once you know what kind of person you want to be in the future, you think of all the qualities and habits that this person needs to have.

For example, if you want to be a successful business owner, you will realize that you should be physically fit to perform at a high level. Knowing this, you realize that doing sports regularly should become a habit. In that case, you should also have a lot of knowledge in a specific field. So you might want to implement the habit of reading regularly.

Try to create a future image of yourself that you can really identify yourself with.

Right now, you are a reflection of your current habits, so try to build your own self by identifying which steps you have to take daily to become your best version.

Getting back on Track

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Getting back on track after skipping a habit is probably the most difficult thing.

However, it is also the most important part.

No matter if you are at the beginning or already a professional — you will always have to skip some days. Sometimes due to unexpected situations, sometimes because of sickness and so on.

And that’s fine.

Skipping your habit once will not affect your overall success.

However, it is important to be aware of it.

If you skipped your habit, try to identify what went wrong?

What hold you back from sticking to your habit? Try to find out what the exact reason was and if possible, eliminate it in the future.

Many studies show that skipping your habit once has absolutely no effect in the long run.

Building habits and working on your best version is a marathon, not a sprint. It is about becoming better every day.

Visual Triggers

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Visualization is a great way to track your habits but also to remind yourself to stick to them.

You can use tracking sheets and apps to stay motivated and keep an eye on your progress.

For example, I have created my vision wall on a door in my flat and I also have tracking sheets for my yearly goals on it.

Every time I sit on my couch, I see this wall and I am reminded to work on my goals. At the same time, I get motivated because I see all my goals in front of me.

Another way is to have a visual trigger at your workspace. For example, if you want to create five blog postings per day, you could have two little boxes on your desk. One with five paperclips and one empty. Every time you finish a blog post (or whatever your task is) you move one paperclip. That’s an amazing way to keep yourself motivated and stick to your habit.

This kind of visualization has a big impact on your short time motivation but also improves your long-term willpower.


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Rome was not built in one day

The key to establishing powerful habits is patience.

Being impatient is the #1 reason why people quit.

Habits are only powerful if you manage to keep them for a long time.

Going to the gym for one week will not bring you huge results. If you go to the gym four times per week for an entire year, however, you might see enormous results.

It is all about consistency and trusting the process.

If you know what you are doing it for, you will be able to stick to it.

If you are going to achieve excellence in big things, you develop the habit in little matters. Excellence is not an exception, it is a prevailing attitude. — Colin Powell


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No matter what you are working on, you are not alone.

A great way to trigger yourself to stick to your habits is to share your goals with an accountability buddy.

An accountability buddy is basically someone with whom you share your goals and process.

In the best case, it is someone who has similar goals, so that you can work towards your goals together but that’s not necessary.

An accountability buddy will basically motivate you by being part of your progress. You will share your results with each other and thus also support each other if one of you is not motivated, is struggling to stick to his habits and so on.

Too often we are egoistic and think that we have to figure things out by ourselves. That’s pretty stupid because with other peoples help we can all rise much higher and achieve our goals.

Even if you don’t know anyone personally, you can always buddy up with people in the virtual world.

There is basically a forum or community for almost anything that you might want to achieve.

Find the right community and connect with like-minded people with whom you can rise above your own standards.