Why We Fail At Creating Productive Habits What to Do about It


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Hey everyone, Kosio Angelov here, author of the #1 Amazon bestselling book, The Lean Email Simple System, and also creator of the project productive time management and productivity program for entrepreneurs. If you’d like to get my content-packed eBook on how to get to the next level of productivity and really double your productivity and your efficiency and your results over the next 30 days, simply click on this link, enter your name and email address, and I’ll send you this book right away. The eBook is worth $97, but you can get it for absolutely free.

Let’s talk about habits and why most of us have such a hard time at adopting good, productive ones, and most importantly, what to do about it. “We are what we repeatedly do,” as the famous quote by Aristotle goes. What we do on a day-to-day basis is largely controlled by a set of habits that each one of us has formed over the course of weeks and months and even years. We all have good, healthy, productive habits, such as exercising, such as doing meaningful work first thing in the morning, eating nutritious foods, and other positive habits like that. But we also have negative ones, like reaching for that sugary drink at the end of the day or checking your email every five minutes or even being on social media websites.

Oftentimes, we try to create a new habit or eliminate a negative one, and we get all excited and all pumped up, and we do the habit for about three days and then we slowly give up. And then we get excited again, and then we stick to a habit and we introduce a new change, and we’re all pumped up for about three to four days, and then it becomes a little too hard, and then we give up and slowly revert back to our old ways of doing things.

Why people fail at creating good habits

But why is it so hard for us to make this change, and most importantly, what can we do about it? Generally speaking, there are three major reasons why people fail at sticking to a habit. Let’s examine each one of them and examine what can be done about it so you can prevent this pitfall.

Too much change

The biggest reason why people fail is usually they try too hard, too fast. They try to be a hero and go from 0 to 60 in no time, and this is a little too big of a change for most people. Let me give an example. Let’s say you haven’t exercised for the last couple of months, and all of a sudden, something triggers in you the desire to change and to do a jog every morning. You go from absolutely no exercise to going for a 30-minute jog five days a week, or hitting the gym seven days a week. For most people, this is too dramatic of a change.

What can you do about it? You need to start small. Exceedingly small. Instead of going from no exercise to 30 minutes every day, decide on going for a 2-minute jog every day. It might seem ridiculous, but start with 2 minutes and slowly introduce more and more and more and build it up to 30 minutes. If you decide to go to the gym, instead of hitting it for an hour, go to the gym and do four crunches; that’s it. You go to the gym every day and you do four crunches. Once you’re accustomed to your 2-minute jog or to your four crunches and that seems normal to your routine and to your daily habits, slowly add some more and build it up to the 30 minutes or to the one hour in the gym.

Let’s say you want to wake up at 5:00 instead of at 7:00. Don’t try to go from 7:00 to 5:00 immediately. Wake up 10 minutes earlier and then 15 minutes earlier and then 20 minutes earlier till eventually, in a couple of short weeks, you’re going to be easily waking up at 5 a.m (here are some extra tips on becoming an early riser). Let’s say you’re in business and you want to write a blog post every day. Instead of going from writing nothing for weeks to writing a blog post per day, decide you’re going to write two sentences; that’s it. Two sentences per day. This way, because it’s so exceedingly small and because it seems like such a ridiculously small thing, you will have less of a chance for you to come up with some kind of reason not to do it.

The first reason why most people fail is they try to be heroes. They try to go from nothing to the other extreme. The way to prevent this from happening to yourself is to start exceedingly small. Start with a 2-minute jog, wake up 5 minutes earlier, do four crunches, or just write three sentences. Just start exceedingly small.

Negative perception of change

Another major reason why most people fail at creating new, productive habits and sticking to them is because they see the new change as something negative. Instead of concentrating on how hard it’s going to be to wake up tomorrow morning and how hard the jog will feel and how exhausted you’re going to be, try to think of it as something positive. Concentrate on the positive. Concentrate on how achieved you’re going to feel once you come back and the boost of energy and the improved quality of sleep and the eventual weight loss. If something feels like a chore, you’re much less likely to do it, so try to concentrate on the positive, on the end goal, and when your mind sees it as something positive, you’re just going to find ways for you to do it. So concentrate on the positive one instead of the negative.

No plan in case of failure

The last major reason why people fail at sticking to a habit is the lack of a plan in case a failure occurs. You get excited about the change and you introduce a new habit, and then you do it for a couple days, but something happens, and you miss a day. When this thing happens, you need to have a plan of why you need to restart. You cannot just give up and never start your habit again. Okay, you missed a day; maybe you missed two. But you need to have a plan for you not to be able to miss three. The way to ensure this thing doesn’t happen is to have some sort of an accountability.

Let’s say you decide you’re going to jog for 2 minutes every day, and you jog on Monday and you jog on Tuesday, but then Wednesday, something happens and you need to go to work earlier, so you don’t have the time to do your jog. Then something happens on Thursday and you don’t have the time again. But then you have it on Friday. So it’s crucial for you to start on Friday, and the way you can make yourself accountable is let’s say you’re going to give $75 to your best friend if you miss your habit three times in a row. It doesn’t have to be money. You can just tell them, “Listen, I’m going to clean your entire apartment for a month; just keep me accountable. Make sure I don’t miss more than three days.”

One day is possible to miss and two days are also possible, but when you miss three days in a row into implementing your new habit, you’re in a way destroying your chances that you’re ever going to turn this new action into a habit. Come up with some accountability that works for yourself and make sure you never miss more than three days in a row when it comes to creating and implementing and sticking to your new habit.

Over to you now

The three keys to forming a new habit and sticking to it are: first, start exceedingly small. Don’t be a hero and try to go from 0 to 60 in no time. Start small and slowly build your way up till the desired result comes. Two, concentrate on the positive. Don’t think about the negative. Don’t think of how hard the change is going to be. Just concentrate on the end result and keep yourself positive and keep yourself excited about this new change. And three, find a way to keep yourself accountable so you don’t miss more than three days in a row.

Finally, if you’d like to take your productivity to the next level and really become more efficient and more productive and learn how to manage your time better, plus eliminate all the negative habits and substitute them with new, efficient, and healthy ones, plus learn how to eliminate all distractions and really keep yourself focused, click on this link I’ll send you my content-packed eBook on how to double your productivity in just 30 days. The book is worth $97, but you can get it for absolutely free.

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What else can prevent you from adopting new productive habits and sticking with them? Share what you think in the comment section below: