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There are bad habits, and there are good habits. If you are reading this, chances are you want to trade some of the former for some of the latter. Forming new, better habits can be life-changing: you can improve your health, increase your happiness, get more results, you name it.
Sticking to a habit can be difficult, because life gets in the way. We can get discouraged when the habit gets disrupted. We might even give up.

How can we form habits without all the difficulty?

I’m going to share two strategies that worked well for me:

  1. Start small; and
  2. Use the power of your smartphone.
Start Small.
I have written before that when you are trying to start a new habit, one of the best ways to make it stick is to start small. Now, however small you may be thinking right now, think even smaller.
Let’s say you want to start running to get fitter, and complete a marathon this year. But, you have never been a runner. Instead of setting out and trying to run ten miles your first week… slip into it. Start by walking around the block. That’s it, just a few minutes of increased activity. Do it again tomorrow.
That’s so easy you will barely notice the habit. Don’t try to become the world’s greatest marathon runner. Don’t try to master the habit. Just do a few moments of it, and get on with the rest your day.
After this becomes something you do without thinking about, try doing it for 30 minutes, then an hour. Don’t rush into this, take a week or two before you increase. It will seem ridiculously easy. Add in a minute or two of running each time out. Add another minute or two each week.
Whatever the habit, make it super super easy to start with.
Your Phone is Smart. Use it.
Another way to effortlessly get into a new, better habit is to take advantage of one habit that almost everyone is already doing: it takes advantage of how often we check our phones.
It’s incredibly simple: put a photo with a message on your phone’s lock-screen. Something that says, “Breathe” on your lock-screen. Or maybe “Walk.”
When you check your phone and notice this message, do your new habit. If the phone says “Breathe,” then pay attention to your breathing for just a few moments. If it says “Walk,” then simply get some steps in, or walk up a flight of stairs.
You may not be able to do that every time you look at your phone, but if you do it a few times a day, you’ll be practicing a new habit effortlessly.
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