habits to be made

This article is an excerpt from the Shortform book guide to "Manifest" by Roxie Nafousi. Shortform has the world's best summaries and analyses of books you should be reading.

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What role do habits play when it comes to following through with your goals? How do you build habits that support your goals?

Habits are the key to achieving your goals. When motivation runs low, habits—activities that are ingrained into your daily schedule—will ensure you keep making progress even if you don’t feel like doing whatever is required.

Here’s how to create habits that support your goals.

Create Good Habits

To create positive habits, identify what you want and who you want to be. Then, identify the daily activities that will help you make these factors your reality.

For example, imagine that what you want is an expensive tropical vacation. You might practice the following habits to make this a reality: adding leftover money to a change jar at the end of each day, making your coffee at home rather than buying Starbucks, or researching some aspect of your trip like accommodations or activities for a few minutes each day. 

Similarly, imagine that who you want to be is a good parent. You might practice the following habits to make this a reality: packing your child’s lunch every night so you don’t forget in the morning, letting your child pick their own outfits, or using consequences rather than spanking to correct behavior.

How to Create Habits to Change Your Life

In The Power of Discipline, Daniel Walter emphasizes the importance of creating good daily habits that help you make progress on your goals. Like Nafousi, he recommends forming habits that serve as a plan of action for achieving your goals; however, this is just one of many types of habits that Walter recommends. To ensure that you maximize your productivity in every area of your life and make the most progress toward your goals, Walter recommends implementing a few additional daily habits:

Regularly follow morning and evening routines—set activities that you diligently perform immediately after waking up and before going to bed. Creating a productive morning routine sets the stage for continued productivity throughout the day. A productive evening routine ensures you get proper rest and feel fully prepared to make the most of the following day.

Control your impulses. Walter explains that humans have a natural impulse to opt for instant gratification, like giving up on a hard task or something productive and choosing to do something fun, like play video games, instead. When we let these impulses control us, we struggle to perform the hard, productive tasks necessary to progressing toward our goals. To overcome these impulses, Walter recommends always pushing yourself 60% harder when you’re ready to give up. He also suggests waiting 10 minutes before making an unproductive decision when you get the urge to do so, as after the 10 minutes, the impulse will likely fade. Practicing these techniques regularly will turn them into habits that combat your impulses.

Form positive associations with work. Walter explains that people often dread putting in the work necessary to achieve their goals because they have negative associations with work—for example, they don’t want to work because they associate it with being hard or boring. To overcome this and make work enjoyable, make it a habit to form positive associations with work. Do this by adding things you enjoy into your work routine—before, during, and after work. For example, make a nice cup of tea before you start work, listen to soothing music while you’re working, and cook your favorite meal after you finish—these actions will make the process enjoyable, or at least tolerable, from start to finish.
How to Create Habits That Support Your Goals

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  • How to create your dream life through the power of thought
  • Why manifestation is not just about picturing something you desire
  • How to effectively manifest by altering your thoughts, behaviors, and emotions

Darya Sinusoid

Darya’s love for reading started with fantasy novels (The LOTR trilogy is still her all-time-favorite). Growing up, however, she found herself transitioning to non-fiction, psychological, and self-help books. She has a degree in Psychology and a deep passion for the subject. She likes reading research-informed books that distill the workings of the human brain/mind/consciousness and thinking of ways to apply the insights to her own life. Some of her favorites include Thinking, Fast and Slow, How We Decide, and The Wisdom of the Enneagram.

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