english · how-to · stuffs from lovely people

How do you build a habit?

So this morning I bumped into an interesting “how-to article” @ quora digest:

Answer by Georgio Daher:

Here’s James Clear‘s great guide:

According to researchers at Duke University, habits account for about 40 percent of our behaviors on any given day. [1]
Understanding how to build new habits (and how your current ones work) is essential for making progress in your health, your happiness, and your life in general.
But there can be a lot of information out there and most of it isn’t very simple to digest. To solve this problem and break things down in a very simple manner, I have created this strategy guide for building new habits that actually stick.
Even more detailed information is available in my free guide, Transform Your Habits, but the basic principles mentioned in this article will be more than enough to get you going.

1. Start with an incredibly small habit.

Make it so easy you can’t say no.
—Leo Babauta

When most people struggle to stick with a new habit, they say something like, “I just need more motivation.” Or, “I wish I had as much willpower as you do.”
This is the wrong approach. Research shows that willpower is like a muscle. It gets fatigued as you use it throughout the day. Another way to think of this is that your motivation ebbs and flows. It rises and falls. Stanford professor BJ Fogg calls this the “motivation wave”.

Solve this problem by picking a new habit that is easy enough that you don’t need motivation to do it. Rather than starting with 50 pushups per day, start with 5 pushups per day. Rather than trying to meditate for 10 minutes per day, start by meditating for one minute per day. Make it easy enough that you can get it done without motivation.
Further reading: Identity-Based Habits: How to Actually Stick to Your Goals This Year

2. Increase your habit in very small ways.

Success is a few simple disciplines, practiced every day; while failure is simply a few errors in judgment, repeated every day.
—Jim Rohn

One percent improvements add up surprisingly fast. So do one percent declines.
Rather than trying to do something amazing from the beginning, start small and gradually improve. Along the way, your willpower and motivation will increase, which will make it easier to stick to your habit for good.
Further reading: This Coach Improved Every Tiny Thing by 1 Percent

3. As you build up, break habits into chunks.

If you continue adding one percent each day, then you’ll find yourself increasing very quickly within two or three months. It is important to keep each habit reasonable, so that you can maintain momentum and make the behavior as easy as possible to accomplish.
Building up to 20 minutes of meditation? Split it into two segments of 10 minutes at first.
Trying to do 50 push-ups per day? Five sets of 10 might be much easier as you make your way there.
Further reading: I’m Using These 3 Simple Steps to Actually Stick with Good Habits

4. When you slip, get back on track quickly.

The best way to improve your self-control is to see how and why you lose control.
—Kelly McGonigal

Top performers make mistakes, commit errors, and get off track just like everyone else. The difference is that they get back on track as quickly as possible.
European Journal of Social Psychology has shown that missing your habit once, no matter when it occurs, has no measurable impact on your long-term progress. Rather than trying to be perfect, abandon your all-or-nothing mentality.
You shouldn’t expect to fail, but you should plan for failure. Take some time to consider what will prevent your habit from happening. What are some things that are likely to get in your way? What are some daily emergencies that are likely to pull you off course? How can you plan to work around these issues? Or, at least, how you can bounce back quickly from them and get back on track?
You just need to be consistent, not perfect. Focus on building the identity of someone who never misses a habit twice.
Further reading: How to Stop Procrastinating by Using the “Seinfeld Strategy”

5. Be patient. Stick to a pace you can sustain.

Learning to be patient is perhaps the most critical skill of all. You can make incredible progress if you are consistent and patient.
If you are adding weight in the gym, you should probably go slower than you think. If you are adding daily sales calls to your business strategy, you should probably start with fewer than you expect to handle. Patience is everything. Do Things You Can Sustain.
New habits should feel easy, especially in the beginning. If you stay consistent and continue increasing your habit it will get hard enough, fast enough. It always does.

James Clear writes at JamesClear.com, where he shares strategies that make it easier to live a healthy life – both mentally and physically. To get useful ideas on how to boost your productivity, improve your health, and master your habits, join his free newsletter.


  1. Habits: A Repeat Performance Page on archive.org by David T. Neal, Wendy Wood, and Jeffrey M. Quinn
  2. Special thanks to BJ Fogg, Leo Babauta, and Kelly McGonigal for their research and work on habit formation and willpower. I have learned a lot from each of you.

Great thanks to James Clear

Follow his blog here James Clear on Quora !

This is the blog post How to Build a New Habit: This is Your Strategy Guide by James Clear on James Clear

You can also read these amazing books:

1- The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business: Charles Duhigg: 8601401248880: Amazon.com: Books

2- Mini Habits: Smaller Habits, Bigger Results: Stephen Guise: 9781494882273: Amazon.com: Books

3- Making Habits, Breaking Habits: Why We Do Things, Why We Don’t, and How to Make Any Change Stick: Jeremy Dean: 9780306822629: Amazon.com: Books

How do you build a habit?

2 thoughts on “How do you build a habit?

  1. A simple yet touching writing, Mi… pas banget lagi pengen memperbaiki diri, berusaha setting goal tapi kok kayaknya gak ada yang kesampean. bertanya-tanya sendiri apa ada yang salah sama diri aku. Seperti yang kamu tulis mi “willpower is like a muscle. It gets fatigued as you use it throughout the day.” Awal2 sih punya kemauan yang kuat, motivasi yang guedeee banget tapi ya itu, di awal aja. seiring berjalannya waktu “willpower”-nya udah ilang karena diri sendiri yang gak disiplin. Padahal “Success is a few simple disciplines, practiced every day”.

    1. Glad to know you like it teh 🙂

      But this article is not mine, aku dapet dari quora. hehehe. samaa, aku pun lagi pengen perbaiki diri. Mari kita berubah teh! Henshinn!

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