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Building Good Habits: Things to Do and Things Not to Do

The Skinny on Success
What new habits are you trying to form this year?

Changing your habits is hard to do. However, there are some proven techniques of things to do when you want to form a new habit, as well as some things to avoid if you want to stop falling back into old patterns. Consider these tips and tricks for building good habits and having higher rates of success:

1. Stop Basing Your Habits and Goals on Other Peoples’ 

If you are making decisions about which habits to change or improve upon based on other peoples’, you’re approaching good habit formation in the wrong way. Unless you care about the habit yourself for your own reasons – and are not holding yourself to other peoples’ standards – you will never possess the internal motivation necessary to form a lasting habit.

2. Start Telling Others About Your Goal

One of the best ways to form a habit or reach a goal is to tell others about it; telling others provides a source of accountability. Ask others to help you form your habit by participating with you (i.e. going for a walk together every morning), or pointing out when you deviate from the goal.

3. Stop Making a Mistake an Excuse to Fail

If you make a mistake and do something that stunts your progress, do not use a mistake as an excuse to fail. Can’t bring yourself to jog this morning? That doesn’t mean you should give up on your goal to make exercise a routine. Raise your voice at your significant other? Don’t throw in the towel and tell yourself that “that’s just who you are” and you can’t do anything about it.

Ultimately, remember that you are completely in charge of you, and success is reachable.

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