How to Form a Habit that Sticks: Building SMART Habits

Introduction

A positive life is built on the foundation of positive habits. Positive habits are the daily stone-work that build us up into who we want to be, ideally. Forming these habits isn’t hard, with the right framework, tools, and accountability.

At Fum we have been helping people create positive habits for the past three years and have specifically helped over 500 customers reduce and/or quit their smoking habit.

In this blog, we will walk you through what SMART habits are, how they work, and how you can start seeing success in your habit formation through them. 

 

What is a SMART Habit?

Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, Time-Based

 

SMART is a goal-centric acronym that stands for Specific, Measureable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-Based. It’s a smart method for setting your habits up for success and for getting you to that positive lifestyle you desire (cheesy use of smart, I know…)


Specific: What is the exact outcome you are looking for? (simple, sensible, and significant)

Measurable: What is necessary to accomplish said goal? (meaningful, motivating)
Attainable: Do you control the outcome, and is it realistic? (agreed, achievable)
Relevant: Does this Habit make sense for me? (reasonable, realistic and resourced, results based)

Time-Based: When do I expect to see results? (timely, time-sensitive, time-limited)


Here’s a SMART Habit in action by means of an example.

Case Study: Becky the Runner

Meet Becky. Becky is pretty eager to get back into running, but hasn’t run seriously since highschool. Ultimately, she wants to be able to run alongside her oldest son at an upcoming 5km charity run



Knowing that good habits are SMART habits, she breaks it down:

Specific: Run 5km in under 25 minutes
Measurable: Using a habit tracker, a watch, and plotting out a 5km loop she knows the metrics she needs to meet. She will run the same 5km loop every day, with one day off/week for the next 30 days.
Attainable: In highschool, Becky ran 5km in 20 minutes and feels like this goal is within reach,
Relevant: Becky wants to create memories with her son by doing something he loves with him.
Time-Based: In thirty days, there is a 5km charity run that her son and her both want to do--and Becky doesn’t want to be left behind.


By outlining her habit into SMART steps, it is really clear for Becky to go for her first run. For her, the habit isn’t about running 5km a day it’s about slowly increasing her speed until she can do 5km a day in less than 25 minutes. This allows for gradual improvements to take place.

Each day on her habit tracker, Becky checks off if she completed her 5km’s of the day and how fast she did it.

 

Habit Formation is a Journey


Forming a new habit is a journey. This journey comes with all sorts of twists, turns, and unexpected surprises even with SMART habits. Enjoy the struggle--we’re human!

Laugh it off, go easy on yourself, and get back up. One of the greatest pieces of advice from habit experts, like James Clear and Matt D’Avella, is to “never miss twice.” It’s okay to skip a day here and there, but to skip two in a row decreases your chances of making that habit stick by a long shot!

A second tip, focus on incremental growth. Increasing 1% a day continually is better than trying to increase too much too quickly and giving up because it gets too hard. 

Lastly, tell a friend. A journey is always more fun with a companion. They don’t necessarily have to be forming the same habit, but having someone who checks in on you or that you report to is great accountability for forming your new habit.

To Wrap it up...

SMART Habits make habit formation a fun and enjoyable journey with the intrinsic benefit of seeing your goals in action. Keep track of your progress and have fun.

We’ve made a handy habit tracker that promotes simplicity. For the month of January 2021, every order includes a copy of a habit tracker.

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