How to Form Good Habits: A Simple Guide to Forming Winning Habits
Working from home? Can’t get away from distractions? Struggling to maintain that in-the-office productivity you used to have?
Forming good habits has never been more important than it is now.
In this guide, we’ll cover simple, effective tips for choosing, forming, and sticking to winning habits that have helped our team maintain their productivity while working from home.
Remember, success won’t come to you. You have to make it happen. Here’s how.
Forming Good Habits: A Quick Background
Working from home is awesome!
Raise your hand if you’ve done any of these things recently:
- “Attended” a meeting in your underwear (wearing a nice shirt on top of course)
- Rummaged through the fridge while in a team scrum
- Logged in to RedBooth and Slack while cooking breakfast
- Taken an extra break or two…or three…
Working from home is so easy, right?
Actually, it’s way harder than working in the office.
We mean the working part is actually harder.
But overcoming procrastination, distractions, and other productivity issues is actually easy.
Our entire team struggled to cope in the beginning, but as soon as we realized it was all about good habits, things fell into place.
We’ve used this easily reproducible system to destroy bad habits and develop winning ones (minus attending meetings in our PJs. We love that.).
First, you have to learn how to form a good habit. Then, we’ll move on to how to choose the right habit to pursue.
How to Form a Good Habit and Stick With It
We can’t over-stress HOW important this is.
You must understand WHY you’re breaking bad habits and how it will help you. Then, you can start to set achievable goals.
That’s how you form a winning habit.
First, tell yourself WHY this is so important:
- Good habits improve productivity
- They reduce your anxiety
- They improve life for your team members
- They help you move forward in your career
- They improve your self-esteem and earn the respect of your coworkers
- You searched for this article! That means you want to make changes. You can and you will!
OK, now it’s time to get smart. And by smart, we mean S.M.A.R.T
- Specific: What exactly do you want to change? Grab a piece of paper and write it down. Be as specific as possible (e.g. I want to wake up 1 hour before work and exercise instead of rolling out of bed 5 minutes before).
- Measurable: Make sure your goal is measurable and quantifiable. If you can’t measure progress, you’ll be like a ship without a rudder.
- Actionable: Make sure you can actually take action. Make it something you can control. For example, saying “I want my team to be more productive” is impossible to control alone. But “I want to spend 1 hour less time playing on my phone so I can be more productive” is possible.
- Realistic: Losing 100 pounds in 6 months is possible but not realistic. Losing 10 pounds in 6 weeks is very possible and very attainable. The #1 reason people fail to attain their goals is that they aim too high. Take note of resources available to you, past times you’ve achieved your goals, and your specific work situation. Then, decide on a realistic goal. Saying you’re going to get up 2 hours before work and run 5 miles when you haven’t set foot outside of your apartment in months is a bit much. Bring it down to Earth a bit.
- Time Sensitive: You must create a sense of urgency if you want to achieve anything. If you don’t, your brain will naturally prioritize other things with deadlines. So, set an end time and make yourself stick to it. What happens if you succeed? What’s the reward? What happens if you fail? How will you be punished?
How to Choose Which Habits to Pursue
OK, our bulletproof system is out of the way. Now, let’s move on to finding out which habits are worth your time.
Step 1) Evaluate Your Day And See What Bothers You (Or Others!)
You came to this article for a reason: something is most likely bothering you.
Or maybe you’ve been told by others to up your productivity.
Either way, it’s time to make some changes.
Start by going through an average workday and seeing what your mind/body tells you. Is anything bothering you?
- Do you feel you should be getting up earlier?
- Do you wish you didn’t waste so much time on your phone?
- Are you losing focus and not getting much work done?
- Are you late on most deadlines?
- Are you letting yourself go physically by reaching for the Häagen-Dazs every break?
Take note of what bothers you the most? And definitely pay attention to feedback from team members/leaders.
Once you know what you’re trying to combat, choosing good habits becomes a lot easier.
Step 2) Identify Small, Simple Habits That Will Improve Your Situation
Once you know the end goal (e.g. sleeping less), identify the lowest hanging fruit. A quick win will light a fire under you and make you want to achieve more.
For example, if you want to improve your sleep schedule so you have more time/energy to work, identify the lowest hanging fruit (easiest to achieve goal). Those could be:
- Avoiding caffeine after a certain time
- Avoiding using your phone 30 minutes before bedtime
- Stop hitting the snooze button in the morning (NOT EASY!)
Write these down, pin them up, and set your mind to achieving them. They really aren’t that hard. This is going to motivate you to tackle bigger issues down the line.
Step 3) Simplify Your Habits in the Beginning
This is a key strategy that most people miss. Like we said before, most people quit because they aim too high. Changing habits IS NOT EASY.
Success is not built overnight. It takes consistency and dedication.
The keyword here is consistency. The simpler your goals/habits, the easier they are to maintain.
Check out the difference between the following goals:
- I want to wake up 2 hours earlier -> I want to wake up earlier than normal
- I want to lose 20 pounds -> I want to eat better and exercise more than normal
- I want to eliminate phone distractions from my workday -> I will use my phone less than on a normal day
Notice how changing a goal can make it so much easier to stick to?
Just a little effort each day is all you need. Waking up earlier than you would normally is an easy habit to stick to. Waking up 2 hours earlier for work every day is asking for failure.
Step 4) Adapt Your Goals to Your Current Lifestyle
70% of smokers say they wish they could quit.
So why don’t they?
Getting in shape is simple: eat better and exercise. So why aren’t we all models?
BECAUSE BREAKING A HABIT IS HARD!
Making wholesale changes is next to impossible for most people. But taking those goals and adapting them to fit your current lifestyle is a great place to start.
If you want to identify the best habits for your work-at-home life, choose ones that fit into the life you have now.
What are you talking about, Soda PDF?
What we mean is: Don’t choose habits that would require you to change your entire life just to adopt them.
If your job requires you to be up late or on-call for service from worldwide customers at wonky hours, getting up at 5 am to run, cook breakfast, or do your housework isn’t going to happen. Reread that: It. Ain’t. Gonna. Happen.
But you know what could? Choosing a habit like an evening walk, cooking tomorrow’s meals at night before bed, or tidying things up after you finish work.
Action Step: Take a look at your current schedule and see what fits where. Where do you have extra time? What would be easiest to adopt? When are you at your most/least energetic? Start with simple habits that fit into these time frames. Again, an example might be a late-night stroll or, if you’re a morning person, getting up 30 mins earlier to clean the house so you aren’t trying to do it all during the day.
OK, let’s sum this all up quickly…
How to Choose, Form, and Stick to a Winning Habit
- Understand why you’re doing this
- Evaluate your daily life/routine and see what needs changing
- Identify a small, attainable, measurable goal
- Identify habits associated with that goal
- Simplify everything down to the lowest hanging fruit
- Make sure it fits your schedule or is adaptable to your current routine
- DO IT!
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What are good habits to develop?
A: Good habits to develop include a good sleep routine, a healthy diet, getting at least 30 minutes of exercise daily, and practicing gratitude.
Q: What is the best habit?
A: The best habit depends on you, but the most beneficial habits include a good sleep schedule and regular exercise.
Q: Why are good habits important?
A: Good habits are important because they allow us to maximize our potential and accomplish difficult tasks with less effort.
Q: How can we form good habits?
A: You can form good habits by:
- Identifying the best habit for you
- Starting small
- Setting a clear goal
- Creating penalties for not following through
- Setting a deadline
The Best PDF Software To Keep You & Your Documents Organized
Here’s one last habit for you: whenever you need to edit, create, merge, split, convert, or review a PDF, be sure to use the best software for the job.
Soda PDF offers a wide range of easy-to-use modification tools for any and all document needs. Plus, Soda PDF is available on both desktop and online, meaning that you can access and change the content or structure of your documents from any device!
Get a taste for our powerful, professional PDF software solution today with a FREE download of our desktop app, or try one of our many helpful online tools!