Was your New Year's Resolution to form a new healthy habit? Having trouble actually getting yourself to start doing it? Well, we're here to share our secret sauce: an effective habit forming formula that could help you achieve your goals, called the 3 Rs method.
The 3 Rs Method
The 3 Rs actually happen while forming any habit—good or bad, conscious or unconscious—but, let’s start with what the 3 R’s stand for:
The first R stands for Reminder. We can’t rely on ourselves to remember everything on our to-do list; this is mainly the reason why we even make to-do lists in the first place, right? Thus, the first step of forming a habit is to set a reminder to trigger your desired behavior, ensuring that you perform this healthy habit when and where you need to do it.
The second R stands for Routine. In order to start a new habit, you have to form a routine. After your reminder goes off, make sure that you actually complete the action that is supposed to follow that reminder. One way to make this easier is to set your reminder after something that you already normally do. This way, your habit will have an immediate place in your existing daily routine.
The third and final R stands for Reward. After all of this habit forming effort, don’t forget to reward yourself! (Arguably the best part of the 3Rs method.) Your reward doesn't have to be anything fancy: an extra pat on the back, or telling yourself “awesome job” will suffice! It may seem like a small and insignificant thing to do, but you’d be surprised at how much of a difference this R makes.
To Form Healthy Habits, Start Small
One extremely important factor of successfully forming a habit is to start off small—and by small, I mean really small.
Say you're interested in improving your dental hygiene and you are finally ready to listen to your dentist who has been telling you to floss your teeth for the past... well, forever. This is a great opportunity to set a small goal, implement the 3 Rs, and start showing off your pearly whites in record time!
A common healthy habit that people try (and often fail) to form is the habit of exercises. Many people wish they had the willpower to workout every day or even once a week, but few people actually have the discipline to make it happen. Something everyone who's trying to build this habit can do? Put on athletic clothes and/or workout for just 5 minutes.
Start small and tell yourself, "I can dedicate 5 minutes to walking/running around my block today" or " I can put my exercise clothes on today, " because, the truth is, you can. Once you put those clothes on, you'll feel like you might as well get out there and exercise and there's no way you won't be able to find 5 minutes to make it happen. By the time you're out there doing your 5 minutes, you probably won't want to stop because they've gone by so quickly. Those 5 minutes will turn into 25 and 25 will turn into 60, and, before you know it, you'll have worked your way up to a full workout.
How to Implement the 3 R's
First, set your reminder. This is a great opportunity to create a reminder after something that is already exists as a part of your daily routine. If you're trying to remember to floss, I'd recommend setting your reminder for after you finish brushing your teeth in the morning (assuming that you are brushing your teeth every morning, of course). A "reminder" can be anything from setting an alarm to putting out a bowl full of floss next to your toothbrush (a reminder that worked for James Clear). Essentially, anything that will work to trigger you to complete your task is a great reminder.
Next, set your routine. It's time to perform the task and floss your teeth! If flossing all of your teeth in one go seems a bit overwhelming, you might try starting small and flossing just a single tooth.
Finally, reward yourself! After flossing those teeth (or tooth), proclaim “Success!” and give yourself a quick thumbs up in the mirror.
Of course this flossing example is extremely small scale, but it shows how simple it is to start a new habit. If you’re looking to eat healthier, start out with just your lunch being a healthy meal, or if you want to exercise, start with just 5 minutes of exercise a day. As time goes on, you will develop a routine and the task will become easier and easier to implement.
Use the 3 Rs to Become Fluent in French in Under a Year
As a parting note of inspiration, Belle Beth Cooper put the 3 Rs to work and learned a new language. She set her reminder, started small with just 5 minutes a day of French, and was rewarded all through her French language learning app. Within a year Belle was fluent in conversational French! Incredible what 5 minutes a day can do, right?
Are you trying to form any new habits? Have you successfully done so, or have you tried out the 3 R’s method? Tell us about it in the comments below!