I want you to take a moment and think about your day.
In all likelihood, you will probably notice that what you did today was very similar to what you did yesterday:
You woke up at a similar time to a similar mood.
You got out of your bed in a similar way, ate the same food and had the same arguments with your partner before doing the same work and then watching the same program on TV, while browsing the same sites and liking the same social media posts, before eventually going to sleep in the same way as you always do.
What’s more- in all likelihood, tomorrow will be very similar as well.
This is because human beings are creatures of habits- we love comfort and stability, and habits help us save a lot of time and energy in our daily dealings.
At the same time, most of us have this deep desire for change and growth.
We have goals that will take us outside of our comforts zone.
If this is true for you, you will also agree that one of the biggest skills you can learn, is the skill of building new habits.
Whether you want to earn more money, experience better relationships or enjoy more moments of joy and happiness, you will have to unlearn old habits and introduce new ones on a regular basis.
And this can be extremely difficult if we don’t have a proper system.
So today, I want to share with you my 8R habit building model, which has helped me transform key areas of my life. It is the result of testing some of the best literature on habit building and lots of trial and error.
I think once you test it you will love it. 🙂
To get started, I want you to think of a new habit that you would like to introduce into your life.
It should be something you are willing to commit to, for at least 30- 60 days.
For the sake of illustration, let’s say you want to start reading, every single day. This is the habit my Mastermind has been practicing throughout March.
This is how you would incorporate daily reading into your life.
Step 1: Resolution
Make a very specific commitment.
For instance, you want to know what you will be doing, when you will be doing it, where you will be doing it and how you will be doing this.
You want to pick a commitment that is just outside your comfort zone and will force you to invest effort into your behavior change, but that is not too difficult and won’t overwhelm you.
Example: Every morning, I will read the book Blue Oceans Strategy, for 15 minutes, at 8 am, sitting in my armchair in my home office where no one will interrupt me.
The more specific you are with regards to your new habit, the higher the chances are that you will actually follow through with your new commitment.
Take a moment and write down your specific commitment.
Make sure you review your note as often as possible, ideally several times a day.
Bonus tip: If you can stack your new behavior to an existing routine, you will gradually create a natural reminder.
Example: I will read Blue Oceans Strategy every morning at 8 am, for 15 minutes, sitting in my armchair in my home office where no one will interrupt me (new habit), right after having my breakfast with the rest of my family (existing routine).
Step 2: Reflection Time
Once we know what we want to do, we also need to appreciate the long term benefit of this new habit to feel motivated and inspired.
We need to answer questions like:
- How will this habit upgrade my life?
- How will my life change in a year from now?
- What will be if I don’t implement this new habit?
- Who else would benefit from me following through with this practice?
Example: If I read from a book every day that will help me advance the skills I need for my career, I can become a true expert at what I do, increase my income and choose the kind of clients I will work within the future. As a result, I will love my job, feel more motivated and inspired, and make my whole family feel extremely proud.
Reflect on the benefits that your new behavior will create for you and for the people around you.
Step 3: Reminder
Initially, it is easy to forget new habits since they fall outside our comfort zone. So we need to create reminders that will trigger a positive response.
Here some ideas:
- We can create reminders on our phone about our habit.
- We can place sticky notes on places like our computer, mirrors or car.
- We can attach our new habit to an existing behavior (e.g. “ I will read after eating my breakfast”).
Create at least 3 different daily reminders that will ensure you will remember to follow through with your new habit.
Step 4: Relationships
To maximize our chances that we will follow through with our new habit, we want to tell people around us, like our spouse, mentor or friends who will hopefully support us in our quest to change our behavior. Ideally, we also want to find a ‘’habit buddy’’ who will go through the same process as us.
Choose one person now who will support you with your new habit and create a manner that this person will keep you accountable.
Step 5: Ritual
Once our reminder goes off, we want to have a specific response and a specific ritual in mind that allows us to follow through with our new habit.
Example: When my alarm goes off, and after I have prepared my morning tea (existing habit), I will sit on my favorite armchair, open my book and read for 15 minutes. I will enjoy my tea while doing so ( new routine).
Define your routine, which starts with the first thing you plan to do when seeing your reminder, and ends with the completion of your new habit.
Step 6: Reward Yourself
To make sure we reprogram ourselves to follow through with our new habit, we want to reward ourselves, each time we complete the new behavior. This is how we program our brain to accept that using willpower and hard work is worth the effort and that our new habit gives us both short term pleasure and long lasting results.
Example: After reading for 15 minutes, I will eat a small piece of my favorite black chocolate. I will also spend a minute to celebrate the fact that I am the kind of person who follows through with his habits.
Decide right now how you will reward yourself, after completing your habit, on a daily basis.
Step 7: Review
Jerry Seinfeld once explained that one of his success secrets was the habit of creating a funny line or joke every day. He would use a calendar and cross off the date every day, after completing his habit. His rule was to never break the chain.
In the same way, we need a method to track our habits and see what worked well and where we struggle.
Example: I will use a spreadsheet to track my reading, on a day to day basis. Then, once a week, I analyse how well I am doing and where I have room to improve my habit.
Create your own system to track your daily habits and to reflect what is working well and what you can improve.
Step 8: Recovery
Building new habits take up energy. So we need to make sure we take good care of ourselves, by eating well, exercising and getting enough sleep. These are new habits by themselves, which demonstrates again how important the skill of habit building is.
Two simple recovery practices that make all the difference to me:
- I prioritize getting 8 hours of quality sleep every day.
- I use my transitional routine to recover on a daily basis, by taking short breaks every hour, where I get up, move around, take a few deep breaths and prepare for my next activity.
Choose at least one way you will ensure that you feel rested and recovered on a day to day basis.
What to do next:
Now that you have the 8 simple steps that will help you become a habit building expert, I recommend you use this method to follow through with one valuable new habit for at least the next 30 days.
- Daily reading.
- Daily meditation.
- Waking up at 5 am.
- Date nights.
- Regular workouts.
- Gratitude practice.
- Thinking time.
I also suggest you make it your goal to introduce ONE new success habit every single month. This is how you will literally train yourself to become a habit building ninja master.
If all this sounds daunting, I want to invite you to join my Habit Hackers Monthly Mastermind where I will train and hold you accountable to one new habit every single month. You can get all the details by clicking here.