habits are built one at a time

Why Habits are Built One at a Time

You will read a lot of different advice about building habits and improving your daily routines, but the best advice you can take is to take your time. Even skilled multitaskers cannot choose multiple habits to change at once. Habits are built one at a time because it is easier to focus on building a single habit. Building habits requires effort, and it is easier to sustain that effort when you are focusing on one. Let's explore some reasons you need to focus on just one habit at a time.
The time required to develop a new habit varies by the habit and the individual. However, research has shown that it can take anywhere from a few weeks to several months to develop a new habit.

Some factors that can influence the time needed to develop a new habit include:

  • The complexity of the habit: Simple habits, like drinking a glass of water after waking up, may be easier to form than more complex habits, like exercising for an hour every day. 
  •  The consistency of the habit: The more consistently you repeat the behavior, the faster it is likely to become a habit. 
  •  The presence of a strong cue and reward: Having a clear cue to trigger the behavior and a strong reward for completing it can help to accelerate the habit-formation process. 


    It is also important to note that habits are more likely to stick if you have a powerful motivation to form them. If you are committed to making a change in your life and are willing to put in the effort required to build a new habit, you may be more successful in doing so.

    habit quote


    Yes, it is possible to focus on multiple things at once. However, it is generally more difficult to do so than to focus on one thing at a time. While it is okay to make a list of all the habits you want to implement, it is nearly impossible to do them all at the same time. Habit building and changing your routines takes time, and it takes a lot of focus. Each habit you are trying to build is going to take a good amount of concentration in the beginning.

    Habits are All About Changing Your Behaviors

    If you want to build healthy habits in your life, you need to change your behaviors. This is incredibly hard to do when almost all your behaviors throughout the day have to be different. It is much easier to change your behaviors a little at a time, as you work on implementing new habits into your daily routine.


    For example, if you are trying to drink more water, you might start filling up a water bottle before bed. If you are also trying to do yoga before bed, write in a journal before bed, meal plan for the next day before bed all at the same time, you won’t always remember to fill up that water bottle. Do each of these one at a time, only introducing a new behavior when the recent one has become natural for you.

    Tips for Building New Habits Slowly

    Not sure how to get started? First, make a list of the habits you are thinking about implementing, and the reasons why. Then look at your list at any of them that kind of go together that you might be able to combine. For example, if you want to start going for a walk each day and you also want to get more vitamin D. These happen at the same time, so it is easy to plan a walk you do outdoors.


    Habits are built through a process called "habit formation." Habit formation is the process by which a behavior becomes automatic. It typically follows a three-step process:

    1. The cue: This is the trigger that initiates the behavior. It can be a specific time of day, a location, an emotion, or something else. 
    2.  The routine: This is the actual behavior that you want to turn into a habit. It could be something as simple as drinking a glass of water after waking up, or something more complex like working out for an hour at the gym. 
    3.  The reward: This is the positive outcome that reinforces the behavior and increases the likelihood that you will repeat it in the future. It could be something as simple as the feeling of thirst being quenched after drinking a glass of water, or the sense of accomplishment after finishing a workout. 

    To build a habit, you need to consistently repeat the routine after the cue, and then reward yourself for doing so. Over time, the brain will begin to associate the cue with the routine, and the behavior will become automatic.


    Photo by PNW Production courtesy of Pexels.com

    Focusing on one habit at a time allows you to give that habit your full attention, which can help you to be more successful in developing the habit. It is important to remember that building one habit at a time allows you to celebrate your successes along the way. This helps motivate you to continue building new habits.

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    • Angel Lewis

      Hello there! I'm Angel, an entrepreneur and writer who grew up in rural North Carolina and now resides in Virginia. My love for writing began during my time at Guilford College in Greensboro, NC. Over the past couple of years, I've authored two nonfiction books in the personal development genre. Along with writing for adults, I also created 'Ready. Set. Fly!', a children's book that inspires self-confidence and resilience. When I'm not writing, I enjoy gardening, reading, playing games, and spending time with those closest to me.

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    6 thoughts on “Why Habits are Built One at a Time

    1. Wow . . . we do have something in common. I believe there are no accidents and everything happens for a reason. I am going to continue to follow your blog during this challenge. If you continue to follow mine and find we may have a connect, let’s explore it! Who knows what opportunities we might create!

    2. Thank you for this good reminder. The habit I am working on is getting back to blog posting. I know I can’t/won’t do it every day right now – but I signed up for a challenge to at least think about it every day and publish as many as I can.

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