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How to Start Building Good Habits

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Most of you might be tired of hearing that building good habits always has to be waking up at 5 AM, eating only a salad at night, and drinking 2 liters of water every day. The reason why you’re probably here is that those things didn’t work for you. Before you force yourself to wake up at 6 AM sleep-deprived tomorrow, you should learn that building good habits has three key points: effort, determination, and discipline. Start with something simple and doable, then gradually increase this as you improve. 

Here are some ways that could help you in building good habits:

1. Start with writing

You may not believe it, but one of the most important things you need to start building good habits is a notebook that could be sitting in your drawer or under your side table. A notebook is an influential factor in building good habits. Why? Because it is where you should write what you want to achieve.

building good habits

Take whatever size of spare notebook you have at home and start with journaling. Make a list of particular things that you wish to accomplish. Do you want to lose 50 pounds at the end of the year? Write it. Do you want to have savings at the end of the year? Write it. Do you want to learn how to do stock trading? Please write it down. Even the goals that you might feel impossible to happen, like “I want to be a millionaire by the end of the year,” write it down because nothing is impossible until you get it done step-by-step.

Journaling helps you take a logical approach to achieve a specific goal so you won’t have to store it all in your head or forget it. Just like phones, our brain has a limit of storage as well. Whatever is past that limit, we tend to forget. According to psychology, when we see things on paper, it allows our brain to process them two times; once we write it down – and then again when we know what we’re writing down. This can minimize the initial thought of you not doing a good job and eventually give up on your goal or dream.

2. Identify the negatives and positives

Think deeply and assess yourself on what your negative and positive traits are. You will see that your negative and toxic traits are the ones that could be pulling your success rate down. An example of a negative trait could be shopping on impulse, maxing out your credit card for useless things, or spending too much time on the couch watching Netflix. In addition, examples of toxic traits are being envious of your co-worker about their new phone or new house. But no person is totally evil. You may have positive traits, such as being a fast learner or excelling in a skill that you have not discovered yet.

building good habits

Pile it up and dump it all in your notebook. Separate the good from the bad ones. Include it in your list of goals to cut and replace the bad ones and retain and improve the good ones. According to the famous author James Clear, your habits – whether good or bad – are there in your life for a reason. For example, smoking a cigarette gives you a sense of relief from stress. 


For James Clear, to address your bad habits, you need to find a way to replace them to break them. Instead of smoking 10 sticks of cigarettes, you should see an alternative plan to address your stressors. It is crucial to weed out the toxic and harmful habits to get rid of the temptations and setbacks when you start working on your habits and goals.

3. Time blocking

Have you ever tried making a to-do list of 10 items good for 8 hours but only ended up being productive for 1-2 hours? Time blocking is a method of planning that allows you to divide your day into smaller blocks of time. Unlike a to-do list, time blocking tells you what to do and when to do it. In every block of time, you get to focus on a single task or a group of similar tasks. The process looks simple, but it needs a tantamount of practice. Scheduling things suck at first, but it’s definitely one of the best ways to succeed.


This is helpful if you are constantly battling interruptions throughout the day since time blocking gives you time limits that you need to follow. It is also practical because it helps your brain get wired and follow through on your goals. Here, the idea is to get your concrete plans synchronized with your true intentions with a bit of time pressure as a motivator.


4. Do short-term and maintain long-term

A short-term goal is something you wish to accomplish quickly. It could be something you want to accomplish today, this week or next month. Ask yourself what do you want to accomplish today. It could be washing all the piled-up dishes from yesterday, cleaning your room, taking out the trash, or watching valuable self-help videos on Youtube.

Weekly goals may include saving $20 by waking up early so you can make coffee at home and not buy outside anymore. Until these short-term habits become auto-pilot and become long-term habits. The $20 that you save every week can become $80 per month and become $960 in a year. If you take that as a motivation, it could be more if you start cutting costs and saving. Eventually, it could be enough for you to create a portfolio in stocks trading.


Achieving these short-term goals will give you an ounce of happiness that will motivate you to pursue bigger goals later on.

5. Always Monitor your progress

According to a research published by the American Psychological Association, your chances of being successful in building good habits are more likely to improve if you record your progress. It helps you assess how far you have improved yourself from being a lazy kid on the couch to a productive or successful person. It helps identify potential obstacles and strategies for overcoming them and even more so in helping you keep going because you feel rewarded.

Now that you know that there are other ways on building good habits other than waking up early tomorrow sleep-deprived, start by following the tips given above. You’ll see how these tips, combined with effort, determination, and discipline, can change your life. The road to improvement can sometimes be uncomfortable, but one thing is for sure: they are always rewarding. Leave a comment if you have other tips to share that could be helpful in building good habits

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Consistently Strive To Be a Little Bit Uncomfortable and Get Over Your Fears One Piece at a Time.

– Munif Ali

Article Sources
  1. Benjamin Harkin, Thomas L. Webb, Betty P. I. Chang, Andrew Prestwich, Mark Conner, Ian Kellar, Yael Benn, Paschal Sheeran. Does Monitoring Goal Progress Promote Goal Attainment? A Meta-Analysis of the Experimental Evidence.. Psychological Bulletin, 2015; DOI: 10.1037/bul0000025

  2. Carroll (2021). “Ultimate guide to time blocking: tips and techniques”. BetterUp.

  3. Clear, James (n.d.). “How to Break a Bad Habit and Replace It With a Good One”. James Clear.

  4. Dagher (2021). “Time Blocking Method: A Step-by-Step Guide for Busy Leaders”. Fellow. 

  5. Dinovitz Counseling LLC (2019). “All my therapist tells me to do is journal: Here’s why….”. Dinovitz Counselling. 

  6. MacKay (2019). “Time blocking 101: A step-by-step guide to getting the most from your daily schedule”. Rescue Time: Blog. 

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