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How to pick the right approach to habit formation

Have you failed to create a habit before

Have you failed to create a habit before? If so, you are not alone. 80% of people who set new years resolutions fail in the first month. There are a number of reasons people fail to build new habits. Not setting a reminder. Not making it small, simple and sustainable. Sometimes it is because they use the wrong approach for their personality.

Identify the best approach with two questions

You can identify the best approach to habit formation for you by answering two simple questions.
The questions are:
Are you ‘open’ or guarded?’

Open people:
  • share feelings and anecdotes,
  • base decisions on intuition,
  • are flexible about time. 
Guarded people:
  • hide personal feelings,
  • base decisions on facts,
  • are disciplined about time.

Are you ‘direct’ or ‘indirect?’

Direct people:
  • make emphatic statements,
  • make swift decisions and take risks,
  • do a lot of talking. 

Indirect people:
  • make tentative statements,
  • ask questions,
  • are thoughtful.

What type are you

Based on the answers you tell if you are a “Socializer,” “Doer,” “Thinker” or a “Collaborator.”

“Socializers” are ideas people. They are unconcerned with details and thrive on involvement with other people.

When making habits “Socializers” should:
  • pick activities that involve other people,
  • focus on the big picture rather than the details. For example a “Socializer” would find it easier to build a fitness habit by going to a Zumba class than by running by themselves. 

“Doers” are goal oriented. They tend to take control of the situation and are decisive in their actions.

When making habits “Doers” should:
  • attach a goal or competition to their habit,
  • set a habit where they can be in control. For example a “Doer” will have greater success setting a habit of beating their own steps goal every day than doing some yoga.
“Collaborators” are generally slow at taking action and making decisions. They need to have to know how other people feel about something before making a decision.

When making habits “Collaborators” should:
  • get a second opinion from a trusted friend,
  • commit to the friend to start the habit,
  • Pick something where they can get ongoing feedback on their progress. For example a “Collaborator” would do better building the habit of going to work with a fitness instructor than doing a body weight workout by themselves at home. 
“Thinkers” are systematic problem-solvers and security-conscious They ask questions about specific details and prefer an organized/structured environments.

When making habits “Thinkers” should”
  • come up with in-depth data to support why their habit is a good idea,
  • document exactly how they will do the habit,
  • pick a habit they can do on their own. For example a “Thinker” will be more successful in building a habit if they have researched the benefits of running and use an app like ‘Couch to 5K’ than deciding to go for a quick jog at lunchtime.