I’ve been successful at creating some habits in my life that were easy to establish and have remained constant, while failing at creating others that just won’t stick.

Namely, writing habitually.

Writing is not always easy. Some days, it pours out of me. Other days, nada.

Recently, I found some tricks that make it easier to turn a challenging goal into a habit.

If you have a busy life, as most of us do, it is essential to create steps that make achieving your goals as easy as possible. To devise ways to habituate your aims.

One trick to chip away at your goal and turn it into a habit is to reduce the time you have to question whether or not you want to do something that isn’t always easy to do.

By being prepared to tackle an objective, you leave little time to ponder getting it done.

I’ll give you an example.

I have met only a few people in my life who love to exercise. My current partner is one of these rare breeds. He can’t wait to get outside and run twenty miles. He doesn’t balk; he loves it.

Most people I know exercise but they don’t love starting.

I’m one of those people. I do not like to exercise. Some days I actively hate it.

Every morning I roll out of bed, get dressed, down as espresso, get in my car, and drive a mile and a half to my Bar Method class in town. I do this most days of the week, most weeks of the year.

Some days my instructor can hear my eyes rolling in class. But I’m there, plugging away.

Even though I don’t like it, once in the studio, I do it with intention because I made it out of bed, drove to the place, and now I have an hour to get through class, and I’m not going to waste my time now that I made the effort. So I do it 100 percent even while rolling my eyes.

I feel great afterward.

Deciding to get out of bed is the hard part. The window of time — you know the one I’m talking about — when you don’t want to get out of your warm, cozy bed, and you start thinking, pondering, wishing,

“Wouldn’t it be nice to just roll over, pull the covers up over my head and sleep for another hour instead of trudging my butt down to the gym.”

To resist this urge to give in to sleep, I prepare instead.

Be prepared to achieve your goals.
Preparation makes getting to my workout a no-brainer.

My preparation is simple, and the timing is critical.

I prepare the night before; I look at the schedule for classes that evening. I decide if I am going to the 6:30 am class or the 7:00 am. Sometimes, when I’m feeling like tomorrow is the day I know I’m going to think of every excuse to skip a workout, I’ll use my fail-safe, I signup for a class online, then there is no way I’m missing it. Because they’ll know.

Next, I pull out my workout clothes and put them on the chair in my bathroom. I use this as a ritual of preparation as I say to myself,

You are working out tomorrow, no matter how much you don’t want to.

There is something about calling it a ritual that assigns more meaning to the act and makes it a concrete plan.

I have been doing this for years.

My ritual of preparation the night before has turned into a decisive pattern of behavior I perform each night, making it virtually impossible to skip my workout.

I have consistently done some heart-pumping exercise every day of my life since my 20’s. I have an off day now and then when I don’t fit some physical movement into my day, but skipping it is rare, and when I do, I feel less motivated to get other tasks accomplished. I don’t beat myself up about it, but I make sure I get to class the following day.

If I don’t exercise by noon, it usually isn’t happening. Although, sex counts as a workout, so there’s that as a backup. Sex is cardiovascular after all.

With preparation, meaning eliminating a step or two the night before to make your goals more achievable, the possibility of forming a habit increases.

Recently, I’m trying to achieve some pretty specific goals, in a short amount of time.

I’m working on only a few regularly — forming those habits to make them less daunting and turning daily actions into successes.

Tips tricks and hacks to form a habit:

  • Work towards one habit at a time. After that first goal is firmly established, go onto another area in your life you’d like to conquer. Your mind can only work on one thing well. Don’t try to nail down five habits all at once. Working on one at a time honors mindfulness. When you are working toward a goal, do that. And do it well. Resist the urge to multitask. When we multitask, it zaps our energy and limited resources. You will cheat yourself because what you’re claiming is a value to you, isn’t getting your full attention. Give it the attention it deserves.
  • Take steps to turn a goal into a habit by performing concrete, actionable steps. If you want a better chance of exercising first thing in the morning, then prepare for that the night before. Create a mindset for making that happen by performing rituals of preparation. If you want to write for an hour or write your Morning pages first thing in the morning, then make an effort to make that happen by preparing for it. The night before, clear the clutter from your desk. Take everything off your desk except your computer or a notebook and pen. Close the windows on your screen except for a blank word document and have it be the first thing you see in the morning when your fire up your computer. Habits are built on small life changes. Make micro-commitments and build on those.
  • Be prepared with a backup plan, so you don’t skip a day. If you absolutely must skip a day, have a backup plan to keep going the next. If you were unable to get up early to get in your 1000 words a day, or whatever your goal may be, make a backup plan. For example, if I didn’t get to the gym this morning, then I’ll go for a 30-minute brisk walk or jog when I get home from work tonight. If I didn’t get my 1000 words in this morning, I’ll write 500 words before I go to bed tonight and an extra 500 words tomorrow morning — no big deal. Having a backup plan will help you to keep going the day after the day you skipped, and help you continue on the road to success in creating a habit.
  • Work with an accountability partner or make a public declaration about your new habit on social media. There is a study called the Hawthorne Effect that found observation helps you maintain a habit change.

‘When people are being observed, they want to look good and perform well.
It is human nature. If we know we’re being watched, it’s natural to increase our performance and give that little bit of extra effort.”

After balking at these suggestions, I’ve recently done both.

I was required to get an accountability partner for an online writing class I’m taking called How To Write Better by Minimalist Joshua Millburn.

Choose someone you trust who will keep you honest. Choose a friend or a mentor or a spouse who isn’t shy about checking on you daily.

My task this semester was to find an accountability partner and send them a quick daily update that said, “Hey, I sat in the chair for an uninterrupted hour of writing and completed my “Jam Session Writing” for the day.”

If I didn’t email my partner by the end of the day, it was understood that my accountability partner needed to check in with, “Hey, I haven’t heard from you today, have you done your uninterrupted hour of writing?”

I have also publicly declared on Medium that I am posting a story every day for 30 consecutive days to see what happens.

I’m working on only a few regularly — forming those habits to make them less daunting and turning daily actions into successes.

Tips tricks and hacks to form a habit:

  • Work towards one habit at a time. After that first goal is firmly established, go onto another area in your life you’d like to conquer. Your mind can only work on one thing well. Don’t try to nail down five habits all at once. Working on one at a time honors mindfulness. When you are working toward a goal, do that. And do it well. Resist the urge to multitask. When we multitask, it zaps our energy and limited resources. You will cheat yourself because what you’re claiming is a value to you, isn’t getting your full attention. Give it the attention it deserves.
  • Take steps to turn a goal into a habit by performing concrete, actionable steps. If you want a better chance of exercising first thing in the morning, then prepare for that the night before. Create a mindset for making that happen by performing rituals of preparation. If you want to write for an hour or write your Morning pages first thing in the morning, then make an effort to make that happen by preparing for it. The night before, clear the clutter from your desk. Take everything off your desk except your computer or a notebook and pen. Close the windows on your screen except for a blank word document and have it be the first thing you see in the morning when your fire up your computer. Habits are built on small life changes. Make micro-commitments and build on those.
  • Be prepared with a backup plan, so you don’t skip a day. If you absolutely must skip a day, have a backup plan to keep going the next. If you were unable to get up early to get in your 1000 words a day, or whatever your goal may be, make a backup plan. For example, if I didn’t get to the gym this morning, then I’ll go for a 30-minute brisk walk or jog when I get home from work tonight. If I didn’t get my 1000 words in this morning, I’ll write 500 words before I go to bed tonight and an extra 500 words tomorrow morning — no big deal. Having a backup plan will help you to keep going the day after the day you skipped, and help you continue on the road to success in creating a habit.
  • Work with an accountability partner or make a public declaration about your new habit on social media. There is a study called the Hawthorne Effect that found observation helps you maintain a habit change.

‘When people are being observed, they want to look good and perform well.
It is human nature. If we know we’re being watched, it’s natural to increase our performance and give that little bit of extra effort.”

After balking at these suggestions, I’ve recently done both.

I was required to get an accountability partner for an online writing class I’m taking called How To Write Better by Minimalist Joshua Millburn.

Choose someone you trust who will keep you honest. Choose a friend or a mentor or a spouse who isn’t shy about checking on you daily.

My task this semester was to find an accountability partner and send them a quick daily update that said, “Hey, I sat in the chair for an uninterrupted hour of writing and completed my “Jam Session Writing” for the day.”

If I didn’t email my partner by the end of the day, it was understood that my accountability partner needed to check in with, “Hey, I haven’t heard from you today, have you done your uninterrupted hour of writing?”

I have also publicly declared on Medium that I am posting a story every day for 30 consecutive days to see what happens.

I’m working on only a few regularly — forming those habits to make them less daunting and turning daily actions into successes.

Tips tricks and hacks to form a habit:

  • Work towards one habit at a time. After that first goal is firmly established, go onto another area in your life you’d like to conquer. Your mind can only work on one thing well. Don’t try to nail down five habits all at once. Working on one at a time honors mindfulness. When you are working toward a goal, do that. And do it well. Resist the urge to multitask. When we multitask, it zaps our energy and limited resources. You will cheat yourself because what you’re claiming is a value to you, isn’t getting your full attention. Give it the attention it deserves.
  • Take steps to turn a goal into a habit by performing concrete, actionable steps. If you want a better chance of exercising first thing in the morning, then prepare for that the night before. Create a mindset for making that happen by performing rituals of preparation. If you want to write for an hour or write your Morning pages first thing in the morning, then make an effort to make that happen by preparing for it. The night before, clear the clutter from your desk. Take everything off your desk except your computer or a notebook and pen. Close the windows on your screen except for a blank word document and have it be the first thing you see in the morning when your fire up your computer. Habits are built on small life changes. Make micro-commitments and build on those.
  • Be prepared with a backup plan, so you don’t skip a day. If you absolutely must skip a day, have a backup plan to keep going the next. If you were unable to get up early to get in your 1000 words a day, or whatever your goal may be, make a backup plan. For example, if I didn’t get to the gym this morning, then I’ll go for a 30-minute brisk walk or jog when I get home from work tonight. If I didn’t get my 1000 words in this morning, I’ll write 500 words before I go to bed tonight and an extra 500 words tomorrow morning — no big deal. Having a backup plan will help you to keep going the day after the day you skipped, and help you continue on the road to success in creating a habit.
  • Work with an accountability partner or make a public declaration about your new habit on social media. There is a study called the Hawthorne Effect that found observation helps you maintain a habit change.

‘When people are being observed, they want to look good and perform well.
It is human nature. If we know we’re being watched, it’s natural to increase our performance and give that little bit of extra effort.”

After balking at these suggestions, I’ve recently done both.

I was required to get an accountability partner for an online writing class I’m taking called How To Write Better by Minimalist Joshua Millburn.

Choose someone you trust who will keep you honest. Choose a friend or a mentor or a spouse who isn’t shy about checking on you daily.

My task this semester was to find an accountability partner and send them a quick daily update that said, “Hey, I sat in the chair for an uninterrupted hour of writing and completed my “Jam Session Writing” for the day.”

If I didn’t email my partner by the end of the day, it was understood that my accountability partner needed to check in with, “Hey, I haven’t heard from you today, have you done your uninterrupted hour of writing?”

I have also publicly declared on Medium that I am posting a story every day for 30 consecutive days to see what happens.

It’s been challenging, but I’m doing it. Every day, I’m forming a habit. This post is number 23 of 30. I’ve stuck with it because I declared it publicly. I know this for sure.

What habit do you want to form so that your goals transform into everyday action?