3 Powerful Strategies to Make Your Good Habits Stick

1. Plant Habit Seeds

You can’t rely on motivation when you create a new habit.

It won’t work because motivation is unpredictable and constantly fluctuating.

So, instead of trying to “get motivated,” make your habit really small.

This approach works exceptionally well.

It’s no coincidence that the most influential habit books are named Mini Habits, Tiny Habits, and Atomic Habits.

By starting with a tiny seed of a habit, you bypass the need for motivation.

You can do it every day whether you feel like it or not.

And that allows you to be consistent enough that your habit can take root and grow naturally over time1.

2. Use Commitment Devices

A commitment device is a way of proactively locking yourself to a particular course of action2.

It’s something you put in place now, so you will act the way you want to later.

Here are some examples:

  • Cutting up your credit cards to avoid mindless spending.
  • Getting a long-term gym membership to work out regularly.
  • Putting your alarm clock across the room to get up on time.
  • Buying unhealthy snacks in small packages to avoid binging.
  • Installing a website blocker to avoid procrastinating at work.

An appropriate commitment device can change your behavior instantly.

So, whenever you want to solidify a habit, think about how you can lock yourself into doing it.

3. Utilize Social Contagion

Attitudes, behaviors, and emotions spread spontaneously through social circles.

This process is called social contagion3, and it has significant implications for our lives.

For instance, fascinating research shows that:

  • If you share rooms with a student who has good grades, your GPA will likely increase too4.
  • If your colleagues are often late for work, you’ll also be more inclined to come in late5.
  • If you have a friend who becomes obese, your risk of becoming obese increases6.

It may not seem like it, but the people around you affect you in a big way.

So, deliberately surround yourself with positive influences.

With time, their good habits will become your good habits.

Footnotes

  1. Tiny Habits by B.J. Fogg
  2. The Stomach-Surgery Conundrum
  3. Social Contagion
  4. Peer Effects with Random Assignment: Results for Dartmouth Roommates
  5. Employee Lateness Behavior: The Role of Lateness Climate and Individual Lateness Attitude
  6. The Spread of Obesity in a Large Social Network over 32 Years