Habits make or break our lives.
As the legendary author, John C. Maxwell said, “You’ll never change your life until you change something you do daily. The secret of your success is found in your daily routine.”
While it’s simple, it’s also true. People spend their whole lives trying to create new habits like losing weight or reading more but constantly fail in their pursuit.
Why is that? Is it lack of willpower? The wrong social support?
Actually, it’s a combination of these factors. A quick look back in history can help you learn how to build better habits and get more done in your life. Here’s how:
Why You’re Failing To Create New Habits
Have you noticed that willpower can only get you so far in life?
If you’re trying to lose weight but you can’t seem to kick that sugar habit. Or you’re trying to work out each morning but always end up hitting the snooze button and pushing the gym until later. Only to never get that workout in.
If so, don’t worry you’re not alone. People tend to try to build new habits and make quantum shifts through willpower. It’s often times a great idea but the environment and strategy won’t make it happen.
People to do things like this:
- Staying sober at a regular happy hour with friends
- Reading a book while your roommate or significant other is watching Netflix
- Eating healthy foods in a house filled with sugar, carbs, and fatty desserts
Not surprisingly, the habits rarely ever stick. Eventually, you’re going to fall off the wagon and then blame yourself for not wanting it bad enough. But this usually makes things worse, not better.
The Sun Tzu Strategy
Instead of trying this solution over and over again, look to the past for some help. The ancient military leader Sun Tzu would have mocked this approach because it has one major flaw. People try to create new habits without the correct position to succeed.
As he said, “You can be sure in succeeding in your attacks if you only attack places which are undefended.”
New Strategies to Create New Habits
Instead of trying to rely solely on willpower, start changing your environments to help you find massive success.
Change Your Environment
The easiest thing you can do to build better habits to eliminate the need for willpower altogether. If you’re trying to lose weight get rid of all the unhealthy food in the house. If you’re trying to quit smoking, get rid of all lighters, cigarettes, and ashtrays.
Setup your environment to make it inevitable for success.
Take Small Steps
Sometimes taking massive action is so big it’s scary and will leave you paralyzed in fear. Instead, try to take one action each day to get you closer to building better habits.
Switch Up Your Routines
If you’re trying to read more books but try it when it’s chaos in your house, change it up. Get up early and read before anyone else is up. If you’re trying to work out more, do it before heading into the office.
Make sure your routine doesn’t become a rut. Constantly mix it up to build success habits.
Start fighting battles that you are more likely to win than fail. Set the terrain up to your advantage, not your inevitable defeat.
As Sun Tzu said, “He will win who knows when to fight and when not to fight.”
Pick your battles wisely in regards to changing your habits.
Set up new rituals that make change happen easily.