Build Good Habits: 3 Simple Things You Can Do Right Now

TL;DR If you want to succeed in reaching your goals, you have to build good habits. And, it begins with three straightforward steps. First, start small by taking manageable actions toward your goals, creating momentum for lasting change. Second, establish a consistent daily routine to reinforce these new behaviors, making them automatic over time. Finally, utilize rewards to celebrate your progress and reinforce positive habits. Understanding the science behind habit formation and staying motivated can help you overcome challenges and transform your life for the better, starting today.

Habits 101: Why You Do What You Do

How can you start building good habits?

👉 Step One: Identifying Your Goals

To Build good habits, start with identifying your goals. This is a foundational step! It sets the direction for your journey and provides a clear target to aim for. Without clearly defined goals, it’s challenging to know which habits to focus on and how they align with your aspirations. In this first step, you create a roadmap that guides your actions and decisions towards building the habits necessary to achieve them.

How to Identify Your Goals

🧠Reflect on Your Values – Consider what truly matters to you in life – your values, passions, and long-term aspirations. Your goals should align with these values to ensure they are meaningful and fulfilling.

🧠Be Specific and Realistic – Instead of vague statements like “get in shape” or “be more productive,” make your goals specific and achievable. For example, aim to exercise for 30 minutes three times a week or complete one task from your to-do list each day.

🧠Use the SMART Criteria – Apply the SMART criteria (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Time-bound) to your goals to make them more actionable and attainable. This framework ensures that your goals are well-defined and provide a clear roadmap for success.

🧠Prioritize Your Goals – You may have multiple goals, but it’s essential to prioritize them based on their significance and feasibility. Focus on a few key goals at a time to avoid feeling overwhelmed and increase your chances of success.

🧠Write Them Down – Take the time to write down your goals, as this reinforces your commitment and makes them feel more tangible. Keep your goals somewhere visible, such as a journal or vision board, to serve as a constant reminder of what you’re working towards.

👉 Step 2: Breakdown Your Habits

Step 2 involves dissecting our existing habits to understand the underlying mechanisms driving our behavior. This process revolves around analyzing the habit loop – the cue, routine, and reward – which forms the foundation of every habit.

How to Break Your Habits Down to Build Good Habits

🧠Identify the Cue – Start by identifying the cue that triggers your habit. This could be a specific time of day, a particular location, an emotional state, or an action performed by someone else. Pay attention to the circumstances surrounding your habits to pinpoint the cue effectively.

🧠Examine the Routine – Once you’ve identified the cue, examine the routine – the behavior or action you engage in response to the cue. This could be anything from checking your phone when you receive a notification to reaching for a snack when you feel stressed. Be honest and thorough in evaluating your routines.

🧠Uncover the Reward – Finally, uncover the reward associated with your habit. This is the positive reinforcement or satisfaction you gain from completing the routine. It could be a sense of accomplishment, a temporary distraction from stress, or a physical sensation like pleasure or comfort.

🧠Recognize Patterns – Analyze your habits to identify patterns and recurring themes. Look for common cues, routines, and rewards across different habits to uncover underlying trends. This will help you understand the root causes of your habits and identify areas for improvement.

👉 Step 3: Implementing Change

Implementing change and building new habits can indeed be challenging, but there are strategies to make the process more manageable and sustainable. Consistency and perseverance are key, but it’s essential to acknowledge that setbacks and obstacles are inevitable. Here are some realistic ways to overcome challenges and maintain consistency:

Build Good Habits by Habit Stacking

One effective strategy is habit stacking, where you integrate new habits into your existing routine. By attaching new behaviors to established ones, you leverage the power of consistency and make it easier to remember and follow through with your habits. For example, if you want to start a meditation practice, you could stack it onto your morning routine by meditating for a few minutes right after brushing your teeth.

Start Small

When implementing change, it’s crucial to start small and gradually increase the difficulty over time. This approach reduces the initial overwhelm and makes it easier to stick with new habits. Focus on tiny, achievable actions that you can easily incorporate into your daily life. Celebrate small victories along the way to maintain motivation and momentum.

Replace Negative Habits

Instead of solely focusing on breaking bad habits, focus on replacing them with positive alternatives. Identify the triggers and rewards associated with your negative habits, and then brainstorm healthier alternatives that fulfill the same needs. By substituting negative behaviors with positive ones, you create a more sustainable path to change.

Set Realistic Expectations as You Build Good Habits

Be realistic about your capabilities and the pace of change. Understand that you have to invest your time and effort to build good habits. And, it’s normal to experience setbacks along the way. Instead of striving for perfection, aim for progress. Celebrate your successes, no matter how small, and be kind to yourself when things don’t go as planned.

Reward Yourself

Finally, remember to reward yourself for your progress along the way. Rewards provide positive reinforcement and help solidify new habits. Treat yourself to something enjoyable or meaningful when you reach milestones or achieve your goals. This could be as simple as taking a relaxing bath, enjoying a favorite meal, or spending time with loved ones.

Common Challenges When You Build Good Habits

Building good habits is undoubtedly a journey filled with challenges. It’s essential to acknowledge and prepare for these obstacles to maintain momentum and stay committed to your goals. Here are some common challenges you may encounter along the way, along with realistic solutions to overcome them:

Lack of Motivation

It’s natural to experience fluctuations in motivation, especially when faced with tasks that feel daunting or unappealing. To combat a lack of motivation, focus on finding your “why” – the deeper reason behind your goals. Remind yourself of the benefits and rewards that come from building good habits, and visualize your success to reignite your motivation. Additionally, break down your goals into smaller, more manageable tasks to make progress feel more achievable and maintain momentum.


Procrastination is a common barrier to habit formation, often fueled by fear of failure, perfectionism, or a desire for immediate gratification. To overcome procrastination, break tasks down into smaller, more manageable steps and create a specific plan for completing them. Use techniques like the Pomodoro Technique, where you work for a set period followed by a short break, to maintain focus and productivity. Additionally, hold yourself accountable by sharing your goals with a friend or using accountability apps to track your progress.

Setbacks Happen When You Build Good Habits

Setbacks are an inevitable part of the habit-building process and can be discouraging. Instead of viewing setbacks as failures, see them as opportunities for growth and learning. Identify the reasons behind the setback and adjust your approach accordingly. Practice self-compassion and remind yourself that setbacks are temporary obstacles on the path to success. Stay resilient and maintain perspective by focusing on the progress you’ve made and the lessons you’ve learned along the way.

Time Constraints

Busy schedules and competing priorities can make it challenging to find time to build good habits. To overcome time constraints, prioritize your habits by identifying the ones that align most closely with your goals and values. Look for pockets of time in your day where you can incorporate these habits, such as during your morning routine, lunch break, or evening wind-down. Remember that consistency is more important than duration, so even small, consistent efforts can lead to significant results over time.

Build Good Habits: Is it really worth the effort?

Starting to build good habits isn’t easy. It takes effort, determination, and resilience. Change can feel scary, especially when challenges pop up. But it’s important to know that the benefits of building good habits are worth the temporary discomfort.

Every small step you take towards building good habits is like saving money for your future. By understanding how habits work and using simple strategies like starting small, creating a routine, and rewarding yourself, you’re setting yourself up for a happier, healthier life.

So why wait? Start building your good habits now. Embrace the challenges that come your way, knowing that each obstacle you overcome brings you closer to your goals. Remember, you’re not alone on this journey. Many others are facing similar challenges and striving for similar goals.

In the end, the change you’ll see in your life will be amazing. So take that first step, no matter how small, and see how your life can improve. With determination and a commitment to building good habits, you can achieve anything. Your journey to a better life starts today.

If you would like to learn more about Habits, feel free to join my channel on Instagram: YouHabits. I exclusively talk about habit hacks on that channel as well as share my insights on how to make positive changes.


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