How to Have Happy Habits

Master your habits to master your life.

Like Comment

Aristotle hit the nail on the head when he said, "We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit." With around 40% of your daily behaviour being based on habits, I think we've got to listen to good old Aristotle. When was the last time you checked in on what kind of habits you're doing repeatedly? Not that recently I would guess. And you're not alone in that!

We tend to focus on goals, resolutions, and all kinds of wellbeing trends, but we take little time to explore what role habits have in them. And judging by the 40% stats I just mentioned, they have quite a big role!

That's why today I want you to do a quick check-in with some of your habits. Start with one good habit you have (which could be as simple as brushing your teeth at night) and one bad habit you have (which could be as complex as procrastinating during designated writing time...). Then, ask yourself these three questions about each of the habits:

1. How is this habit fuelling my happiness, health or success?

This will give you a motivation boost when it comes to praising yourself for your good habit and inspire you to create even more good habits into your life. It will also shine light on how the bad habit you have is not fuelling any of those things and it will make you feel even more driven about dropping it.

2. What are the repeating components of my habit?

This is where Charles Duhigg's habit loop comes in. First, identify the cue for your habit. This is the thing that is consistent when you feel the urge to do your habit. This could be the time of the day, a location, an emotion, a person or an activity. Second, identify the routine which is the actual behaviour you engage in (this is the easy part!). Third, identify the reward you get when you've done your routine (this is some kind of satisfaction, sense of pleasure or sense of achievement you feel).

For example, the cue for brushing my teeth at night is I'm about to go to bed (an activity). The routine is brushing my teeth in the bathroom. The reward is my mouth feels fresh and clean, and I feel good for taking care of myself.

3. Do I want to change this habit?

Only you can make the decision. We all have room for a few bad habits in our lives and only you know which ones they are. Always know the why behind every habit you have. Some are to help fuel your success, health or happiness. Others might be your guilty pleasures. Whatever you do, don't try to eliminate a bad habit or create a new habit simply because 'someone said so'. Your drive for behaviour change has to come from within or you won't have the motivation to go through with it.

Are you curious about diving deeper into habits and how to change them successfully?

If your answer is yes, sign-up to my online course on 'Creating Happy Habits'. Be one of the first ten to sign-up and you'll get a free speed coaching call with me. Sign-up before the end of this week and you will also get access to an extra habits lesson with live Q&A.

Susanna Newsonen

Author & Keynote Speaker, The Happyologist Ltd

Susanna Newsonen is the one and only Happyologist®. She is a happiness life coach and keynote speaker. She uses the science of positive psychology to help you to kill your self-doubt, embrace positive thinking, and build a lifestyle you love. She is the author of Happiness is Here and Screw Finding Your Passion. She is a published researcher, a TEDx speaker, an online columnist, and a regular commentator in the media from the BBC to The Huffington Post and more. Her corporate client list ranges across industries, including American Express, BMW, Kellogg’s, Lululemon Athletica and 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment to name a few. In her free time she is a competitive dressage rider with Olympic ambitions. She adores dogs and believes we can learn a lot from our four-legged furry friends. She inspires and educates her loyal following through her blog at