How To Build High-Value Habits

Everybody wants to succeed in life and strive to be their best selves, but achieving those objectives is neither simple nor easy. How often have you set a goal just to give up after a few tries? How often have your objectives seemed out of reach or extremely challenging to accomplish?

By Ramsha Afridi3 min read
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Not many of us could deny that setting goals is not an easy task, and that we all, to an extent, struggle to overcome the never-ending challenges that our daily lives present to us, which pushes us further away from what we want to achieve. I can attest firsthand to the fact that I battled mightily to achieve my objectives; I tried and failed countless times. That is, until I realized I had developed a number of bad habits that were preventing me from moving forward.

It wasn't until I started researching self-improvement methods and came across some research on habit building that I realized why I wasn't reaching my goals: I didn't have the proper system in place to achieve them, nor did I even realize that I needed a system to reach those goals! You might be curious as to what that process might be, and it is simply the framework of forming “high-value” habits.

We all understand the meaning of habits, but what exactly are "high-value" habits, you may be wondering? Well, allow me to clarify.

What Are High-Value Habits and Why Are They Important?

To build high-value habits, we must fully understand what habits are. A habit is a routine action we take without giving it much conscious thought. It’s an automatic action and mental process, and we can perform tasks without outrageously high mental effort thanks to our daily habits.

These daily habits can be both good or bad; however, high-value habits are those that will simply make your life better and easier, not the other way around. In fact, these behaviors will allow you to improve each and every day. And once we repeatedly engage in these "high-value" behaviors, we will reap the rewards and benefits, which will also lead to the betterment of our quality of life.

High-value habits are those that make your life better and allow you to improve every day. 

It's easy to see why it's crucial to form these high-value habits: Your habits, as well as your thoughts, words, and actions, have a direct impact on the quality of your life, health, and goals – so if we want to live well and accomplish our goals, we must form these self-valuing habits. Developing high-value habits will help you solve your problems and things you are unhappy with in life.

The Psychology of Habit Building Made Simple 

I came across various research and literature while on my self-improvement journey that not only discussed the psychology of developing high-value habits but also provided tools that could be used to do so. A best-selling and easy-to-read book like Atomic Habits by James Clear, for instance, demonstrates how making minor adjustments to your everyday routine can eventually produce extraordinary results.

Clear discusses cutting-edge subjects in human behavioral psychology and neurology and is able to clearly explain how human behavior functions. His book specifically discusses how habits are formed, which can be broken down into four distinct steps: cue, craving, response, and reward. “Cue” is a signal that causes your brain to enter auto mode and directs it to carry out a certain habit. Wanting the reward from following through on the habit is what causes the craving. The focus of the response is receiving the reward – once we become more conscious and aware of our actions. The reward makes us feel good for acting the way we did and reinforces the habit.

We can better understand what a habit is, how it functions, and how to change it by dissecting it into these basic components. This four-step pattern, according to Clear, forms the basis of every habit, and your brain follows these steps in the exact sequence each time.

Developing Your Character Can Also Help You Improve Your Habits

We must grow as people if we want to go deeper and create high-value habits. This is because our principles heavily influence our outcomes and our values ultimately dictate our behavior and attitude.

Developing your character rather than your personality is the key to achieving long-term success. 

To go further, understanding deeper principles of life can help us understand habits in a different light. For instance, in the book The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, author Stephen Covey asserts that developing your character rather than your personality is the key to achieving long-term success. 

According to Covey, success historically, particularly in the 20th century, was largely attributed to a Personality Ethic philosophy, including character traits, abilities, strategies, and upholding an optimistic outlook towards life. He highlights a set of seven guiding principles that serve as the foundation for the "Character Ethic." For instance, the first principle in his book is about being proactive. He argues that this realization to understand and assess our own character, to become the kind of person we wish to be, and how to achieve being competent individuals is what defines us as human beings. 

The main takeaway from Covey’s book is that developing your internal character based on strong values and principles is effective and helps us to alter behavior alone.

Closing Thoughts

The truth is that your habits reflect who you are and how you live your life; both the good and the bad aspects of your life are a direct result of the priorities you have chosen to set through your habits.

In our fast-paced modern world, we can all succumb to the pressures that come with our strengths and weaknesses. In order to reach our full potential, we must develop high-value habits in order to avoid becoming victims of our negative behaviors and addictions.

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