Do you know what makes it easy or difficult to form new habits? In this article, we'll look at the number one way to make forming a new habit easy.

How To Make It Easy To Form A Habit - Become Aware Of Your Existing Habits and How You Formed Them

Aug 12, 2022

We are our habits, our habits are us. Habits don’t care if they're good or bad - helping us or hurting us. But over time they’ll compound to determine who you are and how much happiness and fulfillment you experience. I call this “The Equation Of LIfe:”

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The System is Failing you

“Our knowledge is exponentially advancing, but our wisdom isn’t.” - Will Moore

Unfortunately, the system we all grow up in that leads to the first vital step in the process, your belief system, is broken. There’s a disconnect between our primal instincts and a society focusing more and more on money and status. 

And in an on-demand world filled with temptation, we can get instant gratification whenever we want with the press of a button. 

  • Why bother developing dating skills when you can just swipe right?  

  • Why bother reading a book when you can Google whatever answer you need?  

  • Why bother picking up the phone to call that family member you haven’t spoken to in a while when you can shoot off a quick text?  

When humans are faced with something that doesn’t give us instant gratification, we turn our attention to something that does instead of doing whatever is necessary to make it happen ourselves. So, when you know there is an easier, quicker alternative, it’s in your nature to take it. But by doing this, your subconscious takes note and begins to work against you. And that’s how the failure habit of taking the easy way is formed. 

This leads you to instinctually “miswant” things that actually make you LESS happy. For example, you WANT more stuff because your brain tells you it will help you survive and thrive, but getting it doesn’t give you that TRUE happiness that we all crave, and it distracts you from the crucial aspects of life that actually do. 

It’s becoming increasingly difficult to know what to pay attention to and take action on. The late great Stan Lee once said; “With great power there must also come great responsibility” – and the advertisers and big tech companies who have learned to take advantage of human nature to manipulate us into making them more money need to step up and use that power responsibly!

On top of all this, our primary influencers like our parents, peers, teachers, and media are all unknowingly part of the same system, perpetuating the same failure habits over and over. Then you end up passing them down to your kids, and so on.

So how do we get you out of this  failure loop and into your success loop? 

 

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Full-System Upgrade

We all have systems, but as mentioned above, unfortunately most of them are simply an evolution of the system we’ve grown up in – and it’s broken. 

Just like any professional athlete, entrepreneur, or business, you’ll need a system that puts the right ations on autopilot to be turned into habits that compound into greatness.

The best way to do this is to make sure your habits revolve around  the main areas of your life that have been scientifically linked to deep, soul-filling, long-term happiness

I call these your ”5 Cores”:

  1. Mindset: Getting your mind working FOR instead of against you. Becoming an unstoppable growth owner who fails beautifully, sees obstacles as temporary roadblocks waiting for solutions, and gives fear the finger.

  1. Career & Finances: Doing what you love and are great at, executing your purpose, and exponentially growing your wealth along the way. 

  1. Relationships:Creating and maintaining deep, fulfilled relationships and allies to help you achieve your goals. 

  1. Physical Health:Taking care of your physical body to ensure looking good, feeling good, and gaining the energy and stamina to propel you through life. 

  1. Emotional Health & Giving Back: Managing stress, expressing your passions regularly, and making sure the world is better, not worse, for having you in it.

Within each core are  universal principles that have proven themselves through the test of time, and you can hang your hat on. Most of us are unaware of what these are, or have heard them in a certain context and said “ya, that sounds right,” but have never taken action. To ignore these is to ensure you develop any action on implementing into that we’ve either ignored and developed failure habits from, or learned and adapted via success habits. Unfortunately, as mentioned above, failure habits are becoming more and more prevalent, which is why we’re becoming less and less happy. 

The good news is that you can upgrade your broken system with a new system that puts you on autopilot. It’s not easy, but it’s a lot of fun.

One Simple Way To Gamify Your Awareness To Make It Easier To Upgrade Your System. 

Habits are formed in response to environmental triggers. These triggers or cues prompt you to perform certain actions. It's the cue that causes you to put on your seatbelt when you get into the car, reach for a cigarette as soon as you wake up in the morning, or switch on the TV when you sit down on the couch.

Over time, your brain picks up on these cues and triggers certain responses without consciously thinking about it. And that’s important – once your habits become automatic, you stop thinking about them. In other words, you don’t have to be aware of a cue for it to trigger a habit – but the more you repeat the action, the more automatic it becomes and the cues gradually become invisible.

This system can work FOR you or AGAINST you when we apply them to the Life Equation we discussed earlier. There are two factors that decide which one it is; awareness and accountability.

Become Aware Of And Manipulate Your Habit Cues

Unless someone actually points it out, you may have no idea that you twirl your hair when you're flirting, rub your neck when you’re nervous, or constantly apologize to people. And the same goes for your eating habits, how you focus your energy and attention at work, or the way you respond to your partner when they’re angry. 

The key is to make the unconscious conscious so you can step into the driver's seat and choose the habits you form and – ultimately – the direction your life takes.

And the best way to do this is to understand the triggers/cues that lead up to that habit. If you want to stop a failure habit, you’ll want to make the cue invisible. For example, if you have the habit of endlessly scrolling through your phone before bed which is affecting how much sleep you get, you’ll want to make it harder to do by making it invisible.

You could 

  1. Turn off the notification for that particular app

  2. Delete or at least move the social media icon off your main home screen

  3. Set time limits on the app from the setting in your phone 

Contrarily, if you want to FORM a success habit, you want the cue to be obvious

When I wanted to start taking vitamins, I put them right at eye-level when I was making a shake so I would have that prompt, literally, before my eyes. FYI – this is also an example of habit stacking, another great way to build success habits.

Another thing I do that massively contributes to my productivity is keep Todoist open with my top priorities in my browser while I’m working. If I get distracted or if it gets buried underneath a hundred other windows, I hit that button that shrinks everything and I bring that list back to the front.

By putting the equivalent of a neon sign on the cue will decrease the friction of your new behavior, and massively increase your chances of success.

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Will Moore is a gamification, habits and happiness expert.

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