One of human’s worst enemies is the urge to slack off. How often have we all started something, promised ourselves we’d do it, but after a few weeks, we simply can’t be bothered? Have you started a project and just left it hanging? Are you trying a new health routine but finding it impossible to keep up?

The number one question we need to ask ourselves is this:

Why are we doing this and what are we trying to achieve?

There’s a number of motivations that can drive us in forming new habits. Perhaps it’s desire to be healthier, or fear of disease, or even wanting to achieve a goal. If we don’t even have a good reason for what we’re doing, why should we see the reason to continue? Always be clear about your purpose.

My suggestion is always remember your goal, and think about how good it’s going to be once you’ve achieved it.

Tips and Suggestions to Form New Habits:

  • Make room for at least 30 minutes each day to do this new task, whether it’s exercise, massage, working on a site, doing a certain project you’ve been wanting to do, writing a novel, or anything else.
  • Do it around the same time each day and treat it as a task that has to be done.
  • Don’t take on too much at once, because you may not be able to handle so many things and then, you’ll likely just give up on everything.
  • If you have a routine, then do one thing at a time.
  • Always spend time thinking and looking at your success, reward yourself and talk to others, as it may motivate you. (I don’t mean go reward yourself with a triple burger with a giant fries, by the way!)
  • Find what motivates you, be it people, other websites or anything else, expose yourself to the motivation more.
  • Use various methods to remind you, such as sticky notes, emailing to self, timers, alarm clocks, people, or any other method you can think of.
  • If trying to form habits of not eating or drinking something, be absolute sure that you literally can’t get your hands on it at home. Otherwise, it is impossible!

I used to be horrible at trying to keep something going, but I’ve learned to make them a part of my daily task. I will tell myself this has to be done, and there will be no enjoying myself or having true leisure time until it’s done. Nobody can force these feelings on you, you must do it yourself, and you must find it within yourself, because at the end of the day, you’re the only person in the world who can choose to do something, or not do something.

Think about a daily habit you do right now. It could be as simple as showering or brushing your teeth. It’s something do because we know we have to. If we don’t, then we’re going to feel sticky, or have rotten teeth. We need to apply this in the new habit we’re trying to form, thinking about what would happen if we don’t. For example, I think about the potential ruining of my health if I didn’t do my one hour walk. If I haven’t done it, I know that all the hard work, muscles I’ve built up would just go away. Plus, I’d have all kinds of fears about illnesses and heart problems if I stopped walking. (I had pretty severe heart palpitations that really motivated me).

So in a way, for me – it’s fear that drives my desire to exercise. It’s true that those who haven’t had a medical scare like that may not feel fear, but all you need to think about is: What if all that I am right now was suddenly taken away?

Another way to easily form habits is choose an easy way to do it, or make it slightly more enjoyable, so it feels less of a job but more of a fun activity.

For example, if you’re trying to do an hour of exercise, make that time fun. If you get bored easily, then ask someone in your family to join you and talk while you do exercises, or get an ipad and watch some of your favourite shows while you exercise. There’s a dozen ways to relieve boredom. If you’re trying to keep up certain tasks such as write a bit on your website each day, do it as soon as you wake up, even if it’s 15 minutes in the morning before work.

From my personal experience, the one and most important thing that drives me in continuing what I started is that “I must get it done” feeling. I don’t know exactly how or why I get it, except perhaps I view this task important enough. Think about how you feel before an assignment is due. That’s what you should aim for, and it takes a lot of self discipline. But if I can do it, and believe me, I was the king of leaving things undone, then so can you!