Many of us suffer from an inability to focus on any one task for too long. You may start a an activity, convince yourself that this time you will not give up, but just as you started with great enthusiasm, you give up just as easily before moving on to something else.
I used to be that way, and to some extent I still am. I always wanted to read, and be able to read consistently. I would start with a bang and a lot of enthusiasm, only to stop half way, and then regret not having completed the book. I lacked habit and discipline. If only I knew then what I know now, who knows how many books I could have read.
1. Start Small
Habits are not easy to form, if they were, everyone in the world would be walking around as the best versions of themselves. Habits take time, and, we as humans, who are prone to procrastination and laziness, need to understand that.
A good way to form a good, long lasting habit is to start small. Break down the habit in chunks of shorter smaller habits. For example, if you want to get into the habit of reading a book everyday, start by reading for fifteen minutes, give that time to turn into a habit, before challenging yourself to twenty, or thirty minutes. A book worth reading that provides information and exercises on how to develop mini habits, which I highly recommend is “Mini Habits” by Stephen Gueiss. I have read his book and have also done a review on it, which you can find under my book review section.
You also want to have a good reason for starting a habit. As discussed in the very popular book called “The Power of Habit” by Charles Duhigg. When developing or establishing a habit you want to be aware of the reward it will bring you at the end.
2. Duration of activity
You want to start by spending about fifteen minutes a day on one activity or task at first. Once you develop the consistency and momentum (discussed next), try to increase the length incrementally over a period of time. You always want to progress and not stay stagnant, but the key is progressing in small increments. By breaking an activity down in into small increments you also prepare yourself mentally to get it done and it doesn’t feel as intimidating.
3. Build consistency and momentum
When you are trying to develop a long lasting habit for the first time, try not to get ahead of yourself and take on too much right away. The problem with plunging head on into a habit is that it requires a lot of will power and motivation. It will last a week may be two, but then you will notice that will power slowly wither away, and you will find yourself losing the motivation to go on, as it may turn into an overwhelming feat. The initial excitement dies out. Breaking a habit down into small mini habits, helps develop consistency, will power, and momentum.
4. Give it time
This brings me to my last tip. Rome wasn’t built in a day. It takes time to develop a habit. In some cases it has been said that it can take roughly two months to form a habit. But using the tips above of starting small, breaking a habit down into small chunks or increments of time, staying consistent and building momentum will get you going in the right direction towards long lasting success.