In a recent interview, I was asked the question: “If you could only use 3 tactics to build a new habit, what would they be?” The journalist interviewing me asked the same question of other productivity experts and here are the five strategies he heard the most.
- Start small and break it down – If the goal is to go from checking email every 5 minutes to doing it only 4 times a day, then ease into this vs. trying to do it cold turkey. For the first week, use a timer and allow yourself to check your email every 15 minutes. In week #2, check your email every 30 minutes. And so forth.
- Do it consistently – Jerry Seinfeld uses the phrase “Don’t break the chain” in describing his habit of consistently writing new material every day.
- Put it in writing – Research shows we’re more apt to follow through on actions if we write them down. And if your new habit has a deadline, include a date next to it.
- Have an accountability partner – telling someone else about your intentions makes you more accountable than if no one knew about it. Your accountability partner should be a non-judgmental friend who will also provide encouragement and support.
- Reward yourself – Pick out something you can look forward to when you’ve reached your goal. I’m all about the chocolate!