Hyper Island

Habit Reflection: Create a Habit that Sticks

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30 - 1202 - 10 Low

This is a simple tool to help you create a habit that actually sticks! It's a research-backed technique that works very well, and it's called “Habit Reflection.” It’s powerful because it's customized to your personal history and experiences. Habit Reflection is all about using the lessons of your past in the present.



Reflect on our habits and discover how we might cultivate better habits in the future.




    Step 1:

    Habit Reflection consists of thinking about what was helpful when forming habits in the past, and then applying those lessons to your new habit.


    • Eating healthy/Cooking healthy
    • Learning something new, consistent practice
    • Increase daily water intake
    • Exercising daily
    • Consistent reading (define your goal daily/weekly)
    • Something else?

    Step 2:

    Describe as concretely as possible what performing your habit involves.

    Examples: If your habit is practicing a skill your goal might be "I will read for at least 10 minutes per day," or "I'll spend 15 minutes every morning practicing French."

    Step 3:

    Thinking back over the past month, how frequently do you perform this habit (or something very similar to it) on average?

    Step 4:

    What sort of criteria will you use to determine if you've completed your habit each day?


    • How many minutes I've done the habit for (e.g., 10 minutes of reading).
    • How many times I've done the behavior or how many units I've completed (e.g., doing 25 push-ups, or drinking 7 glasses of water every day).
    • Whether I've hit a personal milestone (e.g., showing up at workout class). Whether I've carried out something to its natural completion (e.g., taking out the recycling before work).

    Step 5:

    How many times each day do you plan to perform your habit, or how many repetitions of it do you hope to complete?

    Step 6:

    When do you plan to perform your habit?
    There are three different sorts of plans you can have for when to perform your habit.

    • Attached to an Existing Habit: Some people find it most effective to attach their new habit to the completion of a pre-existing habit. For instance, you might decide to do your new habit right after you finish brushing your teeth each evening, or right after you finish your morning tea. This is a powerful technique because once you have a single habit in place, you can leverage it to build other habits more easily!

    • When a Trigger Occurs: In other situations, it may be easiest to perform your habit after a consistent trigger in your environment occurs. For instance, you might want to get started with your habit as soon as your alarm clock goes off in the morning, or as soon as you arrive home from work each day, or whenever you notice yourself becoming annoyed at something.

    • At a Consistent Time: In some cases it may be easiest to plan to perform your habit at the same time each day. For instance, you might practice your habit every day at 8am.

    Step 7:

    On a scale from 1-10 How motivated do you feel to practice your habit every day for the next week?

    Step 8:

    Habit Reflection

    1. Briefly describe one past situation in which you were able to successfully change your long-term behavior or habits.
    Think about the habit changes you've gone through in the past. Virtually everyone has changed their daily habits in some way at some point in their lives, whether that change was dramatic or relatively minor.

    2. Describe anything you learned from this situation about how to successfully form new habits, or any tactics you used to help make this change that could apply to your new habit.
    Think about what lessons you could take away from this past situation. Habit formation is a different process for everyone. That's why it's so helpful to think back on your own experiences and isolate the tactics that have worked best for you!
    e.g.,past experiences such as: • Rewarding myself for sticking with my habit is a strong motivator for me. • I like to slowly build up to doing a new habit every day. • It's easier for me to stick with a new habit that a buddy is also forming. • Practicing a new habit first thing in the morning makes it easier for me. • Fear of failure is a great motivator for keeping me consistent. • The hardest part of forming new habits for me is just remembering them. • The hardest part for me is making time to practice the habit.

    3. How might you be able to apply what you learned or apply your previous tactics to forming your new habit?
    *Now that you've thought about what's worked for you in the past a little bit, it's time to think about how you can apply your knowledge to forming your new habit of reading a book or the news. Here's what you said was helpful during your past behavior change effort:
    e.g., "Reaping all the healthy benefits from daily exercise"*

    Step 9:

    Final Step:


    Okay, create your summary!

    • Your past successful habit change: e.g., "Stopped eating meat"
    • What you did that helped you accomplish this change: e.g., "Reaping all the benefits from the new habit"
    • How you can apply what you learned to this new habit: e.g., "I will be super motivated by my own personal energy levels and well-being"

    Make a mental note of what you've written during this exercise. Then, as you're working on keeping up with your habit over the next few weeks, see if you can find ways to implement these insights to help you stick with it!

    A tip from the researchers:

    Motivation Matters. Keep in mind that there are two distinct types of motivation: an intuitive, gut-level desire to do something, and an analytical belief that something is worth pursuing based on careful consideration of its pros and cons.

    If you want to form a new habit, it’s best to pick one where you have both types of motivation, rather than forcing yourself to do something you don’t feel excited about or that you aren’t fully convinced is worth the effort.

    Deep dive into creating habits that stick


    Credit: Clearerthinking.org

    Source: Hyper Island toolbox

    Hyper Island designs learning experiences that challenge companies and individuals to grow and stay competitive in an increasingly digitized world. With clients such as Google, Adidas and IKEA, Hyper Island has been listed by CNN as one of the most innovative schools in the world.

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