There really isn’t a secret. It’s being able to define what you’re trying to achieve and make it achievable via micro actions.
What are you really trying to achieve?
What you need to determine is why do you want to set up a habit? If the habit is to go the gym. Why is going to the gym important? To get into shape. Why do you have to go to the gym to accomplish this? Maybe going to the gym is an excuse to use because you don’t have enough time to get there so it provides you with a reason not to exercise.
Inertia of habits
By taking on a new habit you typically have to make space for this habit to stick which means you stop doing something else. The habit will deplete your willpower so you will need to make it as easy as possible for the habit to be achievable. I try to set new new habits in the morning when I’m at my peak energy level, some people it can be in the evenings.
Building a habit
Being you have a finite amount of willpower, you should only build one habit at a time. Because each time you take on a new habit you are depleting your finite reserve of willpower. So let’s go back to the habit of getting into shape.
Make it easy
I too struggled with building a habit of getting into shape so I tried to focus on how I could make it as easy as possible to exercise. I started with a requirement that the workout must be easily accessible, require little to no equipment, and doesn’t require travel.
So if your habit is to get into shape, start small with 5 push-ups or crunch per day. But don’t set the bar too high, if you find yourself doing more that’s fine, but never do less than your original goal. If the goal is too high you will find ways to not do it.
Set up mini if then statements
Programmers use If-Then statements to instruct a computer to do something if certain conditions are met.
I’ve found this is applicable to our daily lives. One If-Then statement I’ve been using with great success is if I’m waiting in line I will then open duo lingo and start studying Spanish.
Your if-then statement for working out could be, if I wake up early in the morning then workout in right away.
Habits take time to stick
According to, habits takes about 66 days to stick. So don’t try to rush the process. Each time you act on a habit you’re building new neural paths in your brain, however, these new paths are weaker than established paths made by bad habits. So it will take time for these paths to grow in strength and become your brains new default action.
Be prepared to fail
If you miss a day of the habit, don’t fret. If anything I would still mark it on your habit tracker as a day you accomplished your habit even if it’s false so you don’t feel as if you are failing. The mere fact you remembered that you didn’t practice a habit you’re trying to build shows that you’re start to incorporate the habit in your thought process.
This answer was originally posted to quora. You can find this answer and others here.