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5 steps to creating positive habits

Use the habit loop to set goals in motion and achieve success

Let’s take a look at the positive power of acquiring good habits. Just for the record, this is how habits are created: you have a thought, those thoughts create feelings, your feelings create emotions, emotions create behavior, and behavior creates habit.

When we think about growing in our personal and professional career, it is vital that we have some consistency in our life. This consistency is the powerhouse of our success. One of the things I teach my coaching clients is you should never underestimate the power of consistency. To make a positive change in your life, you need to develop a vision of where you want to be, develop goals to make that vision a reality, and then develop plans to reach your goals. Just because you have a vision to get into shape, and a goal to lose weight, without a plan on how to lose weight, that goal will not be met.

When you have plans to reach the goals, this is where the habits are developed to make that goal a reality. If the goal is to lose 30 pounds, the plan should be:

Of the plans written above, you will not achieve them without consistency and habit. There is something to be said about having good habits and in this article, I want to share the elements of developing good habits.

  1. It all starts with vision. We are wired to think in pictures, and in the absence of that vision, we have no idea where we are going. Once we can picture a direction, we know which way we must drive to get there. Let me challenge you here. If you are looking to achieve your next big thing – a new job, completing your degree, whatever it is – develop a vision of what things look like once you achieve that goal. Do not concentrate on the vision, concentrate on what that goal does for your life after you achieve it.
  2. Making a change. Once you have a vision, the goal and the plan, you now must decide where that fits into your everyday habits. If you want to attain a goal, you must change something. To achieve something you have never achieved, you must do something you have not done. You cannot expect to achieve a goal with the same everyday habits. Will you hit snooze at the same time every day, or make a change? Where does the new plan fit? You have to give something up to get something new.
  3. Time for reflection. You have a very powerful mind, and using visualization to reflect on what has happened, or, in this case, what you want to achieve, is what creates desire. When you have desire – that fire in your belly no one can extinguish, you will succeed.
  4. The hard part. You did not think this would be easy, did you? It is vital for your success to develop self-discipline. It takes about 60 days to hardwire a new habit. Tons can happen in 2 months; lots of speed bumps, countless hurdles and several mistakes. Just remember this – it is not in achieving a goal where your experience and wisdom form. It is the journey you take in reaching your goal where the growth happens. You must have solid self-discipline and persistence, and then persevere.
  5. Find support. You can do it alone, and maybe you are someone that can achieve goals independently. But for most people, having someone in your corner to be a cheerleader, share advice and guide you; why not? This could be a friend, a mentor a significant other, or your children. Find your support structure.

Really quick, let’s discuss the habit loop. This is the process during which the consistency and continuity of habit starts.

  • It begins with the cue. This is something that causes the habit to begin. For me, I go to the gym every morning at 5 a.m. The cue is my alarm clock. It says get up and do.
  • Next is the routine. My routine is getting out of bed and starting my truck; now I have 15 minutes to get out the door and go to the gym.
  • Finally, you get the reward. Work out 5 days a week and watch the changes that occur. This inspires you to respond to the cue to continue.

I started this article by stating that developing good habits forms the consistency for your success. Think about it. I am willing to bet that over half of the things you do daily are habits. If we think about habits from a psychological aspect, this serves your neurological cravings, like a trip to Starbucks. Allowing the habit loop to move you through the steps to success. I know this will sound silly, but this will help with reprogramming your subconscious mind, and locking in the habit. When you are going through your new habit, recognize the cue needed to reach the goal and the routine needed to complete the goal, and when you start to see the reward, be proud: tell yourself you did it.