“Change your habits and you’ll change your life”, according to keynote speaker James Clear.

If we look at the most successful people in life, they all have one thing in common – they cultivate good habits. The harsh truth? This is what sets them apart from the rest of us slackers. Too tired to go to the gym after work, we stay out of shape. Too overstimulated to read a book in our downtime, we instead consume junk TV. The result? Unsatisfied and unfulfilled, we are our own worst enemies – the true reason we’re not achieving those coveted long-term goals we so desperately want to reach. 

But how exactly do we form good habits, and achieve the life-changing results we’re after? The key: make small changes. Stay consistent. And perhaps most importantly, be realistic about what we can accomplish. 

Intrigued? Let us guide you through it. 

Start Small: Chipping Away to Win Big Long-term

Micro habits. If you’re unfamiliar with the term, let us enlighten you.  

Micro habits are small, achievable actions we can implement with minimal effort or disruption to our daily routine. For example, if your goal is to read more – start small. That is to say, instead of attempting to consume reams of text after you’ve been in front of a computer all day, consider focusing on reading just one page when you get into bed at night. After a while, if you feel up to it, you could ramp that up to two pages, or perhaps three. The objective? Showing ourselves that doing something – no matter how small – to get us closer to our long-term goal, is better than doing nothing. 

It can be easy to be overambitious, but, by reminding ourselves that – once again – doing something is better than doing nothing, our micro habits become enough. Going for a short, 15-minute walk in the evening is, then, something to be celebrated. Sure, it’s not burning the same amount of calories as an intense group fitness class at the gym – but it’s still something, and it’s still worthwhile. You’re still lapping the old you – the one who would have preferred to stay on the couch in your pyjamas, drinking a glass of wine. 

Stay Consistent: Building Up Regular Habit Routines

Consistency is key, as they say. If you want a habit to stick, you need to build on it regularly, until it becomes part of your routine.

Consider this: you want to become qualified to become a nurse. But you already work full time. How, then, are you going to fit in the time to complete a nursing qualification? The answer: by enrolling in a course you can study remotely, like online family nurse practitioner programs for example, so that you can study at times that suit you best. Then, by consistently plugging away at your studies as part of your regular routine – that is to say, doing just a little bit of study every night, or in the morning before work, you can integrate it into your daily life. After a while, sitting down to your textbooks in your downtime will feel natural. Funnily enough, it can become so much a part of your routine that once your degree is attained, it may even feel strange that you don’t have any more coursework to complete. 

Be Realistic: Only Changing One Thing At a Time

Just like setting big, unachievable goals instead of starting small, it’s common to aspire to do too much. From getting fit and eating better to learning a new language or musical instrument, or picking up a new skill like cooking or sewing, it can be tempting to want to do it all.

But the reality? You simply can’t do it all – at least not all at once. Try, instead, to achieve one goal at a time. Once you’ve mastered the basics of that new language, you can move on to the next goal of learning to play the piano. When sitting down to bash out some Mozart is part of your routine, you can tackle the next goal. 

Yes, we all want to be well-rounded, accomplished individuals. But we’re all human, and being realistic is the key to avoiding disappointment – as is setting goals that we can actually achieve. 

Categories: Health

Nicolas Desjardins

Hello everyone, I am the main writer for SIND Canada. I've been writing articles for more than 12 years and I like sharing my knowledge. I'm currently writing for many websites and newspapers. I always keep myself very informed to give you the best information. All my years as a computer scientist made me become an incredible researcher. You can contact me on our forum or by email at [email protected].