3 rules you should never break when forming a new habit

Okay, I’ve already started the party on how to start a new habit, and I trust you’re interested— but now it’s time to sober up and drill a little deeper. Let’s talk about the three biggest commitments you’ll need to make on your quest to starting a new habit.

You ready?

1 for 5: How I fared on 21habit.

Exhibit A

Rule #1: Be passionate about your change

Love it. Own it. See yourself pwning it. There is no other way to start a new habit than to be completely passionate about it, and it has to be a feeling way beyond what your mind can think or rationalize.

The more passion the better.

Check out Exhibit A. As you might notice, my “Publish one blog post a day” attempt was my most pathetic failure. Of the two entire days I tried, I only succeeded on one of them.

The reason why is because at the time, I was only telling myself to do it without an emotional connection as to why. At least it flopped quickly.

Rule #2: Set a realistic goal

My first habit-forming attempt, “I will get my mini site up and running, and make at least $50 from it” may seem realistic, but it wasn’t, and that’s why I failed.

Why?  Because at the time I had an incredibly demanding full-time job in the day, followed by moonlighting as a freelancer at night. And a whole lotta personal stress I won’t get into right now.

Building the “mini-site” would have sucked a great deal of my energy and focus, and I was nowhere near prepared for that commitment.

Rule #3: The habit must fit into your strategy

Whether it’s to change your life, your work, a relationship or whatever — you should be doing it to improve the bigger picture of your life. This is what I mean by strategy.

Just because you can get through 21 days of repeated behavior, that doesn’t mean it should stick. For example, I successfully wrote 500 words of fiction a day for 21 days straight this past summer. About halfway through I got bored and agitated because I soon realized that writing fiction wasn’t going to help me solve the more immediate challenges in my life at the time — namely, earning income.

You can’t cheat on this

All three rules have to be honored if you want to succeed with your new habit. Here’s the 1-10 scaled analysis of my 21habit performance (you need at least a score of 25 for this to work):

  • I will get my mini site up and running, and make at least $50 from it: passion +3, realistic +9, strategy 0. Total = 12
  • Get barrld.com established as a bonafide project: passion +8, realistic 0, strategy +0. Total = 8
  • Find my writing voice by writing no less than 500 words a day: passion +10, realistic +7, strategy +4. Total = 21
  • Publish one blog post per day: passion +6, realistic +6, strategy +8. Total = 20.
  • Write fiction for at least one hour per day: passion +10, realistic +10, strategy +3. Total = 23. (I technically succeeded but ultimately failed).

To wrap this up, you just need to know that forming a new habit depends entirely on your ability to commit and act. 21habit is just a service to help you out, kind of like how a handrailing guides you up the stairs but you still need to do the walking.