At Sleekgeek, our mission is to help people build healthy habits so that they can live a better life.
Below are the 10 “Habit Rules” that we always come back to over and over again when helping Sleekgeek Coaching Clients transform their lives.
You can also listen to Eric and Elan discussing each habit rule in-depth in episode 08 of the Sleekgeek Podcast.
1) KNOW YOUR WHY.
Your desire to build a habit needs to be stronger than your desire to stop when things get hard.
If you don’t have a “Deep Why” behind your habit, it probably won’t last.
Why is it important that you build and stick with this habit? What will be different if you continue to do it consistently and repeatedly for the next 12 months? What will giving up or abandoning the habit mean for your goals?
2) BELIEVE YOU CAN.
You need to CHOOSE to believe you can make something a habit that lasts.
If you have to overcome every reason in your head why you can’t do something, you’ll never make the progress you want.
Choosing to believe that you can do something will help you look for solutions to problems and lessons from mistakes. It will give you the energy to work hard because you believe your efforts will be rewarded.
Without this belief, nothing else matters.
3) BE SPECIFIC.
Get crystal clear on exactly what it is that you want the build the habit of doing.
You can’t hit your target if you have nothing to aim for.
What does doing your habit actually look like? When will you do it? How will you do it? What does making progress look like? What does being consistent look like?
Being vague about your habits is a form of self-sabotage and staying within your comfort zone.
4) MAKE IT EASY.
When building a new habit, make it easy to do so that you can do it consistently and repeatedly enough for it to actually become a habit.
Most people set the bar too high too soon. You don’t win any prizes for being hardcore and burning out because your habit was too hard to maintain.
Until it becomes a habit, your priority should be focusing on the process rather than the outcome. Build the habit of taking consistent and repeated action before you turn up the intensity.
Consistency, even when life gets “messy”, is badass. Stopping and starting and restarting over and over is not.
5) DO IT REGULARLY.
Habits are not about effort, they’re about repetition. We are what we repeatedly do, so put in the reps.
The less frequently you practice your habit, the longer it will take to become a habit. The more frequently you practice your habit, the quicker it will take.
Ideally, try to do your habit every day. Even if you can’t do your exact habit every day, find some way to think about it, plan for it, or support it as often as possible.
Repetition is important. Every day is an opportunity to “vote” with your actions for what kind of habits you have.
6) TRACK YOUR CONSISTENCY.
Track your habit, both on the good days and the bad days, so that you have an objective view of how well you’re doing.
People are terrible at judging how “good” or “bad” they’ve been.
Simply the action of tracking creates awareness and makes you more likely to do it regularly and be more successful.
7) CREATE A TRIGGER.
ALL habits are started by a cue or trigger.
We brush our teeth after we’ve eaten breakfast. We eat junk food because we’re feeling sad. We exercise because we committed to do it at 5 pm every day. We get angry because someone cut us off in traffic.
Associate your habit with some kind of event, reminder, time, or emotion.
One of the easiest things to do is simply stack your new habit on top of an existing habit that you already do. Another option is to make doing your new habit that you need to do a requirement before you can do something that you really want to do (like watch TV or go on social media).
8) REWARD YOURSELF.
Habits are created when the habit or action is rewarding.
Healthy habits often have a more boring long-term reward whereas unhealthy habits often have a more exciting immediate reward.
To solve this, find some way to immediately hi-five or reward yourself for doing your habit every time you do it as well as for being consistent over a period of time.
Your rewards should help you level up and make you better, not worse.
9) DON’T BE ALL-OR-NOTHING
It’s not the single daily action that transforms your life, it’s the lifetime of consistent and repetitive daily actions that do.
Even when things aren’t going well and you can’t do your habit perfectly, doing something is better than nothing at all and losing all of your momentum.
The key to building a habit is to keep moving forward, even when it’s not perfect, long enough for it to become a habit and a part of your identity.
Think “always something” rather than “all-or-nothing”.
10) HELP OTHERS.
Sometimes the best way to learn something is to teach it.
Get others to join you on your journey as an accountability partner or teach them what you’ve learned so far.
When helping others, there’s a lot more pressure to lead by example.