10 Psychology Hacks To Building Good Habits

People who have good habits rarely have to fight the urge to lie on the couch, order fatty takeout, put off chores, or watch one more viral video before rushing out the door. Because autopilot takes over, the temptation is removed from the equation. It takes little to no willpower to make intelligent decisions once you’ve developed solid habits.

#1 Set up a feasible goal

Big behavior changes, according to B.J. Fogg, a Stanford University researcher and author of “Tiny Habits,” necessitate a high degree of desire that isn’t always sustained. He recommends beginning with small behaviors to make the new habit as simple as possible.

Dr. Fogg wanted to start doing push-ups every day in his own life. To make the habit stay, he started with just two push-ups each day and related them to a daily habit: going to the restroom. He started by dropping and doing two push-ups following a trip to the bathroom. He now does 40 to 80 push-ups every day.

A daily little walk, for example, could be the start of a healthy fitness routine. Alternatively, placing an apple in your purse every day may help you develop healthier eating habits.

One of the most common reasons people fail to achieve their objectives is that they establish too many in the first place. Then they try to attack them all at once, and they burn out in the first month. It matters how you define the aim you want to transform into a habit. According to studies, goals like “meditate daily” are too abstract. You’ll gain from being more clear about what you want to do and how often you want to achieve it.

“I’ll meditate regularly,” don’t say. “Every day, I’ll meditate for 15 minutes,” you might say.
Having a little goal to work toward makes it easier to get started and track your progress.

#2 Repetition Is the Key

Researchers looked at how people create habits in the real world by asking participants to pick a simple behavior to start, such as drinking water at lunch or going for a walk before dinner.

The time it took for the task to become automatic – a habit — ranged from 18 to 254 days, according to the study published in the European Journal of Social Psychology. The average length of time was 66 days!

When we set out to form a new habit, we often overestimate our willpower and choose the least inefficient approach to our end goal. If you want to get in shape by exercising consistently, you’ll probably look for a routine that produces immediate results, such as pounding the pavement on a treadmill. However, studies suggest that if you focus on finding ways to make goal-setting enjoyable, you’ll stick with it longer and achieve more.

When it comes to exercise, this could be attending Yoga lessons with a friend or learning to rock climb. If you’re aiming to eat more fruits and vegetables, try substituting doughnut breakfasts with delightful smoothies.

Smoothies can incorporate numerous servings of fruits and vegetables into one tasty drink. Making the experience pleasurable is crucial, but it’s often disregarded, because you’re considerably more likely to persist with something you enjoy, and repetition is key to habit building.

#3 Begin With Small Habits

Improvements of one percent add up quickly. One percent declines have the same effect.

Rather than attempting anything great right away, start small and gradually improve. Your willpower and motivation will improve along the road, making it simpler to maintain your habit in the long run.

If you keep adding one percent every day, you’ll notice a significant increase in just two or three months. It’s critical to keep each habit realistic to regain momentum and make the behavior=654p4p3 as simple as feasible.
Do you want to work up to 20 minutes of meditation? At first, divide it into two 10-minute segments.

Are you attempting to complete 50 pushups per day? As you get closer, five sets of ten might be a lot simpler.

Dean Bokhari uses a similar principle, on his webpage, he recommends breaking the Habit into smaller chunks called “mini habits”. That way, you’d easily stick to the routine and would have fewer cop-outs from the routine.

Reminder to enforce change of bad habit

Mini-habits” are small daily routines, rituals, or acts that take only a few minutes to complete but can add up to significant improvements in your overall quality of life over time. Because mini-habits may be built upon—bit by bit—over time, they’re one of the finest methods to build major habits.

And if you have trouble getting started, you’ll discover that mini-habits are beneficial in getting you to take action toward your goals…

Mini-habits are all about slow and granular improvement—a steady and granular approach to success. The thought of taking “huge action” can be scary for many of us. (For example, “How am I meant to perform 30 push-ups every morning when I can barely do three?”)

But if you keep nudging yourself ahead with small everyday activities, you’ll finally succeed. Because the purpose of forming a habit is to achieve or sustain a certain goal, doing something—even if it’s small—is far preferable to becoming overwhelmed by the size of your goal and giving up because of it. Success will be achieved by taking small moves at a time. Taking any action is preferable to taking none.

#4 Stack New Habits on Old Ones

Too often, we overlook the fact that developing new behaviors requires two steps. We strive to break a bad habit without forming a new one, or we acquire a new habit without disrupting our current routine. This leaves us feeling stressed and unhappy, with either more things to do in a day or a desire for the reward we used to get from our poor behaviors.

You must develop a healthier routine that provides the same rewards as the unhealthy habit to successfully replace your habits. If you want to quit procrastinating on Facebook or Messenger, for example, don’t merely try to stop signing in or deactivate your account.

We often ignore the reality that learning new behaviors is a two-step process. We try to quit a bad habit without forming a new one, or we try to pick up a new habit without disturbing our daily routine. This leaves us frustrated and sad, with either more things to do in a day or a longing for the reward we used to receive for our bad habits.

To successfully transform your behaviors, you must build a healthier routine that gives the same incentives as unhealthy behavior. Don’t just try to stop signing in or deactivate your account if you want to stop procrastinating on Facebook or Messenger, for example.

Instead, look for a better habit to replace the old one while still reaping the same benefits.

Create a schedule where you work for 30 minutes and then take a 5-minute break to catch up on notifications, emails, and texts entirely. The idea is to replace the behavior you wish to lose with something else, whether you use an anti-procrastination app or a new work schedule. Alternatively, if you want to start exercising before work, treat yourself to a healthy breakfast.

#5 Don’t complicate things

Many of us settle into very consistent patterns by the time we put a habit on autopilot, tending to exercise, study, or take our medication at the same time and in the same spot. My research reveals that, contrary to common belief, it’s important to intentionally introduce some unpredictability into your routine when you’re in the early stages of habit formation.

If you’re trying to create a mindfulness practice, you’ll still want to have a backup plan in place, such as an 8 a.m. meditation session. However, you should also try different methods of completing the task. Include a noon meditation and possibly a 5 p.m. meditation as well.

We are more likely to adopt new habits when we remove the barriers that stand in our way, according to behavioral experts. One example is packing your gym bag and leaving it by the door. A psychologist, Wendy Wood, a researcher at the University of Southern California, claims that she started sleeping in her running clothing to make it simpler to get out of bed in the morning, put on her running shoes, and go for a run. Another strategy to create an easy fitness habit is to choose a workout that doesn’t require you to leave the house, such as situps or jumping jacks.

Psychology Hacks You Can Use to Break a Bad Habit

#6 Expect to fail sometimes

If you don’t know how to get somewhere, you won’t be able to get there. That’s why planning is so important: it keeps you on track and helps you take the measures you need to succeed.

However, no strategy is without flaws.

As you work to create new habits, it’s beneficial to include an if-then component in the mix. “IF I am in this scenario, THEN I will take this action,” says the planner.

Top performers make mistakes, commit errors, and veer off track just like everyone else. The key difference is that they bounce back on track as soon as they can.

According to research, skipping your habit just once, regardless of when it happens, has no quantifiable impact on your long-term progress. Instead of attempting to be perfect, let go of your all-or-nothing mindset.

You shouldn’t anticipate failure, but you should prepare for it. Take some time to think about what will keep your habit from becoming a habit. What are some of the things that are likely to obstruct your progress? What are some common daily occurrences that are likely to throw you off track? What strategies do you have in mind to deal with these issues?

#7 Make Sustainable Plans

The ability to be patient is maybe the most important of all. If you are steady and patient, you can achieve great progress.

If you’re going to the gym to gain weight, you should go a little slower than you think. If you’re going to start making daily sales calls as part of your business strategy, start with fewer than you think you’ll need. Patience is crucial. Do stuff you’ll be able to maintain.

New habits should be simple to establish, especially at first. It will get difficult enough, quickly enough, if you remain consistent and continue to increase your habit. It is always the case.

While you may have good intentions, it might be difficult to stick to a dramatic resolution. Begin by concentrating on just one habit at a time.

Make a list of where you are now, where you want to go, and what steps you can do to get there. You could, for example, make it a practice to bring reusable grocery bags to the store and keep them near your front door.

Set Up Your Environment

Setting yourself up for success means preparing your environment to foster your new habit. Consider what modifications you can make to your environment to assist you with any habit you want to start.

Do you want to start recycling or decreasing food waste at home regularly? Make use of your leftover meals by placing designated recycling can next to your garbage can.

This holds in your social surroundings as well. Inform your housemates or family members about the new behaviors you’re trying to establish so they can support you.

Plan to Overcome Set Backs

While it may seem paradoxical to plan for failure when setting a goal, research has shown that anticipating difficulty and having an “if-then” plan in place can lead to success. Make a plan for what you’ll do if someone serves you bacon at breakfast if you’re trying to eat vegetarian.

If you make a mistake that you weren’t expecting, use it as an opportunity to rethink your strategy. Perhaps you can make another modification in your environment, or you simply require better tools and recommit to the practice.

When there is no deadline people tend to procrastinate

#8 Set Up Habit Cues

Small cues can be placed in your environment to either trigger or facilitate the execution of a habit.

Your surroundings, for example, have a significant impact on your habits. So, if you want to improve your eating habits, make it simple to consume healthy foods and difficult to eat unhealthy foods. Purging your pantry of junk food is a great way to do this.

This is a solid start, but it just solves the “make it difficult to eat bad things” portion of the problem.

So you get rid of the nasty stuff. So, what’s next?

It’s a good idea to incorporate habit cues if you want to make it easier to eat healthy foods. Dean Bokhari gives some great examples of stacking up habit cues which he calls Habit ramps.

Setting up a Habit ramp(many cues) needs thorough planning and execution. In this phase, you’re relying on the environment to trigger you to perform a certain habit, in this case, your new habit. For example, suppose you want to set up an exercise routine you could set up cues as follows;

  1. Since I work out very early in the morning, I would sleep with my workout clothes on.
  2. Before going to bed, I would place a liter of water, and
  3. other supplements I need for my workout diet.
  4. I’d also keep my vitamins beside my bed.
  5. I would have already placed my gym bag at the door the previous night.
  6. I have already set up my workout routine when, so when I get to the gym I get right into the action.

When you have planned out your habit cues in a simple manner like the example above, you would be less mentally strained in figuring out what you intend to do.

#9 Keep Track of Your Progress

Grab a calendar and mark a huge red “X” on each day you exercise if you’re trying to create an exercise habit. Maintain a notebook that details your eating habits, or track your progress with an app like MyFitnessPal, if you’re building the habit of eating healthier.

Some people succeed when they openly declare their goals—this is it, the stakes are on the ground. Involving people is another fantastic method to create new behaviors. This can be especially effective if you include individuals who share your goals.

If you want to start a new gym habit, having a gym partner to hold you accountable when you don’t feel like going can help. Maintain a notebook that details your eating habits, or track your progress with an app like MyFitnessPal, if you’re building the habit of eating healthier.

Some people succeed when they openly declare their goals—this is it, the stakes are on the ground. Involving people is another fantastic method to create new behaviors. This can be especially effective if you include individuals who share your goals.

If you want to start a new gym habit, having a gym partner to hold you accountable when you don’t feel like going can help. There are alternative ways to crowdsource the odd kick in the arse that we all need from time to time if you’re not into buddy systems.


#10 Always Reward Yourself

Positive incentives have an amusing way of assisting us in breaking down the walls that prevent us from making changes. Much of this is due to the quiet and subtle confidence it fosters in us, as well as how it boosts our self-esteem. When you start to see change (like developing a new habit) as a positive rather than a bad experience, you can begin to break down the fear-based barriers that keep you stuck in the past.

Positive reinforcement is effective for several reasons. We encourage ourselves by clearly outlining and conveying the types of actions we need to reach our goals when we use a reward as a road marker for our progress. This kind of explicit direction allows us to deepen the link we’re forming between our new levels of performance and the prizes we’re frantically attempting to achieve.

Incentives also help to build our confidence and pique our interest in learning new abilities or participating in new activities. When we teach our brains that excellent output equals good input, it becomes simpler for us to relax, seek out new and innovative ideas, and even take more responsibility for our contributions to the world around us.

Rewards and incentives don’t have to be at the end of the routine, you can take rewards in between routines, halfway through a routine, and at the end of a routine.

The little Rewards

You can reward yourself in a variety of ways for a well-managed task or a job well done. For example, you can;

  • taking naps.
  • Play a video game.
  • Take coffee
  • Buy yourself a novel. etc.

Mid-range rewards

If the small things aren’t enough to pique your interest, consider boosting the ante with bigger and greater incentives. These incentives should be utilized for similar-sized jobs to give you that extra push you need to cross the finish line.

  • Get new clothing for a night out on the town.
  • Make an appointment for a quick manicure or pedicure.
  • Invest in that print for your office.
  • Take a bite to eat at that new restaurant that everyone is raving about.
  • Allow yourself an entire day to rest and do exactly what you want.

The End game rewards

Life is full of significant events and significant problems that we must conquer. These kinds of victories demand a commensurately large reward, one that validates our strength in terms of living and thriving. Ensure your reward doesn’t interfere with your routine.

Atomic Habits By James Clear
Atomic Habits By James Clear

The Bottom Line

Making habits doesn’t have to be so tedious and mentally exhausting. Since we know the principle behind habit formation, we can actively exploit these processes by incorporating habits that we want to consciously build. To form a habit by the most effective means, you must follow recommended guides set out by professionals in the field.

Outline the habits your want to build. Find old habits you may need to replace or incorporate your new habits into. Take it one step at a time, and set up clearly defined and achievable goals. Don’t forget to reward yourself after every new feat is achieved. Good luck!