How to build a habit

Hope everyone had a good holiday, or at least just got through it if that's where you're at this year. I feel like 2019 is off to a strong start, as I've had two very full, and very fulfilling days. I started today by being on my friend's podcast (obviously I'll tell you when that comes out), then ran a million errands in the city, took a yoga class, and taught two yoga classes (the last one was slow & candlelit and I couldn't have asked for a better end to my day). So I'm gonna keep this short, and snuggle up in my bed ASAP. 

Given that it's the new year, and we all try to create new, healthy habits around this time, I wanted to share with you a super useful formula I recently read about. It's from The Power of Habit (by Charles Duhigg)which I highly recommend in general - and this is the foundational concept... 

With any new habit, you need four things:

1. A cue - how will you know it's time for your new habit? If you're building a morning meditation or journaling practice, simply waking up might be the cue, or pouring your coffee, or brushing your teeth. If it's getting to a workout class after work, getting out of work can be the cue. The trick is that right from the one thing, you go to the habit; they link together and there's no decision-making process in between (Will I? Won't I? When should I?). 
2. The habit itself - duh, do the thing. 
3. A reward - yes, even as adults we need positive reinforcement (from ourselves) that we did something good. Now, this reward might simply be how you feel - if it's working out, you'll feel strong and have a sense of accomplishment, if it's drinking water, you'll feel hydrated and all your systems will run smoothly... But it might be a moretangible reward, e.g. that nightly glass of wine, your midday latte, or maybe a month-long streak gets you a massage. Even outside this book, I've heard that when we don't put any consequences on our actions (or lack thereof), we're unlikely to make any change, even if we want it really, reallybad. Identify the thing you can look forward to if you complete your habit; something you'll begin to crave. 
4. Finally, there needs to be some real motivation overarching the whole process. Why do you want this at all? What's the bigger picture? 

Now, if you're like me, this step-by-step, concrete approach is music to your ears. The only thing I'll add is the same thing I always say:go slow.  Don't expect yourself to go from zero to sixty in the first week (or even the first month). Be realistic with your goals if you want them to actually stick. The main reason New Year's resolutions are known to fail is because people go too big, too fast. You're not going to go from no days at the gym per week, to 3 days at the gym per week. Start with one, build from there. 

I hope that helps! Til next week ;)