6 Quick Tricks to Get Back in the Habit


Recently, despite my best intentions, I have found it difficult to maintain some of my habits (see 24 Daily Habits and 12 More Daily Habits). My relocation from Australia to Canada a month ago has really messed with my routine, and at the moment I am trying to re-establish many of my good habits.

I have, however, discovered that often a simple trick can be the difference between doing and not doing. Essentially, these tricks deal with overcoming temptation, eg the temptation to sleep in/ check email constantly/ drink beer every night. Here then are 6 quick tricks I have come up with to help myself get back in the habit:

1. Habit: Exercise Every day

Trick: Changing into my exercise gear.

Often the more I think about exercise, the less likely I am to do it. I effectively talk myself out of it. I have found, however, that once I have changed into my exercise gear I am usually good to go.

2. Habit: Waking Early

Trick: Setting my alarm clock away from my bed.

This is a great trick to avoid hitting the snooze button continually (you know what I mean).

3. Habit: Writing Every day For This Blog

Trick: Close down my email.

Having my email always open distracts me when I am writing my blog articles.

4. Habit: Putting First Things First

Trick: Shut down the computer.

Yes your computer does have an ‘Off’ button. If I need to get something done that doesn’t require the computer to be on, I often find it is best to remove the temptation of the Internet/ Facebook/ email/ etc by shutting down the computer.

5. Habit: Limiting Alcohol Consumption

Trick: Only buy alcohol as I need to.

When I was working Monday to Friday, I established a habit of not drinking Sunday to Thursday. Now I do love a beer, so the best way I found to stick to this habit was to only buy small quantities of beer (eg a 6 pack) as needed. It is not cheaper to buy in bulk if that makes you drink more.

6. Habit: Winding Down Before Bed

Trick: Pick a time in the evening to shut down my computer/ turn off the TV and stick to it.

From then I like to spend 30 to 60 minutes winding down (reading/ reviewing my day/ meditating). It may help you to even set an alarm once you have picked a time so you don’t forget.

The above 6 tricks are, of course, ones that work for me. If you are having trouble establishing or re-establishing a habit (they say it can take 3 weeks to establish a habit) I suggest you try coming up with some similar tricks that you think will work for you. Just ask yourself: how can I remove the temptation that is stopping me from acting the way I want or doing what needs to be done?

Photo by Capture The Uncapturable

4 thoughts on “6 Quick Tricks to Get Back in the Habit”

  1. Thanks for the comment Matt. I find it interesting how some of these tips are so simple (eg setting the alarm clock away from the bed) and yet so effective.

  2. For waking up early, the best trick I know of is to get out of bed instantly when you wake up. When you wake up, you have a few seconds when you are completely awake and alert as you mind takes stock of the situation around it to analyze any possible threats. If you get up during this time, it never slows back down, and you’ll be up and alert from the instant you wake up… but you have to do it IMMEDIATELY. You can’t even wait 2 minutes.

    And speaking of alarms, I have a set time in the morning when I like to be actually doing something productive, so I have an alarm set to remind me to stop messing around and get to it. I find it helps me considerably… reminding me to stop screwing around checking email and such.

  3. for waking up early, I place my bed directly where the sun hits first thing in the morning. the glare of the sun never fails to wake me up. =)

    it’s really hard to stay away from the computer and I also get distracted by incoming PMs, tweets etc. I’ll try your suggestions and hopefully it will work for me too. great post!

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