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The difference between a good idea and a good habit

Good ideas

I was recently researching “good habits for weight loss” for a new blog post. Some of the answers I found included:
  • Get some exercise.
  • Get a good nights sleep.
  • Monitor your portions.
  • Drink more water.
  • Eat more vegetables.

These are all good ideas. The problem is, as they are prescribed, they aren’t habits. If you truly want to implement one of these ideas in to your daily routine you have to make it a habit. Otherwise you will follow the advice for a few days and then stop doing it.

What is a habit.

Every habit has 3 parts. The reminder, the routine and a reward. You need a reminder so you start your habit every day. You need the routine so you know exactly what to do. You need the reward so you will continue doing the habit on a regular basis.
Take the idea “get some exercise.” When are you going to exercise? What exercise are you going to do? How long are you going to exercise for? Why are you exercising.

When Thens.

The simplest way to convert an idea in to a habit is to make it a “When Then” statement. The “when” is your reminder. The “then is your routine. The reward is the habit will help with whatever goal you are researching.

For example you could convert “get more exercise” in to “When I finish eating dinner then I go for a brisk 10 minute walk.”

Whenever you discover good ideas in books, blog posts, Ted talks or anywhere you have to be able to convert them to a “When Then” if you are going to be able to implement the idea.