Habits make up nearly half of the things that we all do on a daily basis. Whether done consciously or unconsciously, the routines that we’ve formed out of these habits provide much-needed structure to our lives. Changing anything about yourself can be tricky, though. Indeed, simply telling yourself to develop better habits, even though you know you’d be all the better for it, sometimes doesn’t cut it.

To make matters worse, it’s still possible to develop some bad habits that aren’t very good for you. And once you’ve formed them, ridding yourself of unhealthy routines can be difficult. If you feel that some of these bad habits are getting in the way of you being more productive at work, then it probably a good time for a change. Here’s how to develop better habits and make sure that they stick:

Start Small

For many people, the most difficult part of developing a new habit is getting started. This happens when the goals that you’ve set for yourself are too vague, too difficult, or too lofty. This last point is not surprising because big changes in behaviour require a high level of motivation that can be hard to sustain.

The easiest way to get around this issue is to condense your habit into the smallest possible action. The idea is to essentially make it so easy that you won’t need much motivation to perform it. Tiny habits are much easier to maintain, and can always be grown or expanded upon.

For example, if your goal is to spend less time procrastinating at work, you can try quantifying how much time you spend on non-work-related tasks. You can then shave a few minutes off of these tasks, a bit at a time. Instead of mindlessly surfing the web or scrolling through your social media feed on your phone, you can dedicate five more minutes to work. Once you’ve achieved this, you can then allot ten minutes each day for the succeeding week, then fifteen minutes the week after that, and so on.

Bundle Your New Habit to an Existing One

Forming a new habit can also be made easier when you connect it to one that you already do regularly. We are all creatures of routine, and these routines are made up of habits that we perform almost as if on auto-pilot. The trick is to find something in these patterns that you can add your new habit to.

Say, for example, that you’d like to develop your focus through daily meditation, but simply can’t find time during the day for it. You can try making a habit of meditating while doing something else, such as when you’re having your first coffee of the day or any other activity that requires minimal thought.

Focus on Developing Only a Single Habit at a Time

One of the biggest mistakes that you can make when trying to make a change in your life is attempting to do too much, too soon. This is understandable, of course, especially if your decision to transform is fuelled by a realisation that some of your habits may be affecting you negatively. In situations like these, it’s natural to want change to happen faster. However, aiming too high can be dangerous, as you may be unknowingly setting yourself up for failure.

Instead of trying to change too much at once, it’s best to narrow your focus and try to develop one new good habit at a time. You can better cultivate an environment to succeed in when your goals are realistic. This makes it easier to focus on achieving them, step-by-step. It can also help you feel less pressured and overwhelmed.

Make It Easier to Commit to Your Habit

Whether it’s getting into the groove of a new good habit or breaking a bad one, you’ll find that motivation and willpower have little to do with it. Studies show that willpower, like a muscle, can get fatigued the more you use it. Motivation, on the other hand, can come and go.

In truth, the biggest reason why building new habits and sticking to them is so hard is because the process of changing itself simply isn’t very convenient. However, you can modify the conditions so that they do become more convenient. This can be done by removing what’s causing the friction between you and the habit you’re trying to get into.

If the habit that you want to cultivate involves getting more work done in the morning, for example, then don’t start your day by checking social media and other micro-distractions. You can also put your phone on silent until lunchtime so that you won’t be side-tracked by your notifications. Another way to get more done at the beginning of your workday is to schedule busywork such as clearing emails in the afternoon.

At the end of the day, developing healthier habits may be challenging, but they’re possible as long as you set yourself up for success. The most important thing to remember when you’re in the process of developing a new habit is to reward yourself. Treating yourself after you finish that desired activity encourages you to keep at it. As long as you put your mind to it, you’ll be sure to establish healthier routines for yourself in no time.

Want to start having better habits? Get in touch with Priority Management’s team today.