Positive Habits: A Top 3 Hack for Better Personal Growth

Brad Sharp
February 15, 2023
colorful butterfly on orange flower

Photo by Yuichi Kageyama on Unsplash

When it comes to personal transformation, positive habits can be a game-changer. Habits are the small, repeated actions that shape our daily lives and, over time, can add up to significant changes in our health, relationships, career, and overall happiness. In fact, studies show that up to 45% of our daily behavior is driven by habits. That means that by intentionally cultivating positive habits, we can create a foundation for a happier, healthier, and more fulfilling life.

However, creating and maintaining positive habits is easier said than done. It requires dedication, consistency, and a willingness to embrace failure along the way. In this article, we’ll explore four main points to help you create positive habits that stick. From starting small to celebrating progress, these tips will help you build momentum and transform your life one step at a time.

Small Steps, Big Transformations: Why Starting Small is Key to Creating Positive Habits

When it comes to creating positive habits, one of the biggest mistakes people make is trying to change everything at once. We’re often so focused on the end goal that we forget about the importance of the journey. Instead of trying to overhaul your entire life in one fell swoop, it’s essential to start small and focus on making gradual, sustainable changes.

Woman walking up stairs
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The power of starting small is backed up by research. In a study published in the European Journal of Social Psychology, researchers found that it takes an average of 66 days to form a new habit. That’s over two months of consistent effort! The same study also found that starting with small, manageable actions can make it easier to develop a new habit.

For example, if you’re trying to get into the habit of exercising regularly, start by committing to a five-minute walk each day. As you start to feel the benefits of that small action, you can gradually increase the duration and intensity of your exercise.

Starting small can also be helpful when it comes to building confidence and reducing the risk of burnout. Taking small steps towards a larger goal can help you stay motivated and avoid the frustration that can come with trying to change everything at once.

An example of this is the “Kaizen” approach to personal improvement, which originated in Japan. The Kaizen philosophy emphasizes the importance of continuous, incremental improvement. By breaking big goals down into smaller, more manageable tasks, you can create a sense of momentum and progress that can be incredibly motivating.

Starting small doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice big goals. In fact, it’s often the small actions that add up to significant transformation over time. The key is to focus on creating positive habits that are sustainable and that you can maintain over the long term.

Starting small is a crucial part of creating positive habits that stick. By breaking down big goals into manageable tasks, you can build confidence, stay motivated, and create sustainable change over time. Remember, every small step you take is a step in the right direction toward achieving your goals.

The Power of Consistency: How to Make Your Positive Habits Stick

Starting small is an excellent first step, but it’s not enough on its own. To create lasting change, you need to focus on consistency. When you consistently practice a positive habit, it becomes a part of your routine, making it easier to maintain over time.

As mentioned earlier, research has shown that it takes an average of 66 days to form a new habit. But that’s not the only important finding. The same study also found that missing one day did not significantly impact the likelihood of forming a habit. However, missing two days in a row decreased the chances of forming a new habit significantly.

This highlights the importance of consistency. It’s not about being perfect, but rather about showing up consistently and persistently. Whether it’s exercise, meditation, or any other positive habit you’re trying to develop, it’s essential to make it a daily or weekly practice.

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Photo by Clark Young on Unsplash

Consistency can be challenging to maintain, especially in the face of obstacles or setbacks. But it’s important to remember that setbacks are a natural part of the process. Life is full of unexpected challenges and demands, and it’s not always possible to stick to your habits perfectly. However, it’s essential to get back on track as soon as possible and not let one setback turn into a pattern of behavior.

An example of the power of consistency is the story of Jerry Seinfeld and his approach to writing jokes. Seinfeld’s goal was to write a new joke every day and to track his progress, he used a wall calendar. Every day he wrote a new joke, and he marked an “X” on the calendar. His goal was to keep the chain of “X’s” going, and he found that this approach helped him to stay motivated and consistent.

Another way to stay consistent is to make your positive habit a non-negotiable part of your routine. For example, if you’re trying to develop a meditation practice, commit to doing it first thing in the morning before you start your day. By making it a non-negotiable part of your routine, you’ll be less likely to skip it or let other demands get in the way.

In summary, consistency is a critical element in creating positive habits that stick. By making your positive habit a daily or weekly practice, you can make it a part of your routine and increase the likelihood of lasting change. Remember that setbacks are a natural part of the process, but it’s essential to get back on track as soon as possible and make consistency a priority.

Mastering Accountability for Successful Habit Formation

As we have seen, building positive habits requires a combination of motivation, consistency, and the ability to track progress. However, there is one key element that is often overlooked: accountability. Holding yourself accountable for your actions and progress can be a powerful tool in building and maintaining positive habits. In this section, we will discuss the importance of accountability and explore some strategies for incorporating it into your habit-building routine.

The Power of Accountability

One of the reasons why accountability is so effective in building positive habits is that it creates a sense of responsibility and ownership. When we hold ourselves accountable for our actions, we are more likely to follow through on our commitments and stay on track with our goals. Additionally, accountability can also provide a sense of motivation and encouragement, as we are more likely to push ourselves to meet our goals when we know that someone else is counting on us.

In fact, a study published in the American Society of Training and Development found that the probability of completing a goal increased by 65% when someone else was holding the individual accountable. This highlights the significant impact that accountability can have on our ability to build positive habits and achieve our goals.

Example: Sarah’s Exercise Accountability Partner

To illustrate the power of accountability, let’s look at  Sarah and her goal of incorporating regular exercise into her routine. After several weeks of struggling to stay on track, she decides to enlist the help of an accountability partner. Sarah’s friend, Emily, is also looking to build a habit of regular exercise, so they agree to check in with each other on a regular basis to report their progress and offer support and encouragement.

With Emily’s help, Sarah finds that she is much more consistent with her workouts. She knows that Emily is counting on her to stay committed to their joint goal, and this provides her with the motivation and accountability she needs to stick with her habit. Over time, Sarah finds that she is more confident and capable of maintaining her exercise routine on her own, but she still continues to check in with Emily regularly to hold herself accountable and stay on track.

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Photo by Cagle on Unsplash
Strategies for Accountability

So, how can you incorporate accountability into your habit-building routine? Here are some strategies to consider:

Find an Accountability Partner: One of the most effective ways to build accountability is to find a friend or family member who shares your goals and is willing to hold you accountable. This person can provide support, encouragement, and feedback as you work toward your habit-building goals.

Use an App or Tool: There are a variety of apps and tools available that can help you stay accountable and track your progress. For example, some fitness apps allow you to track your workouts and share your progress with friends, while others allow you to set reminders and receive notifications to keep you on track.

Set Deadlines and Consequences: Another strategy for building accountability is to set deadlines and consequences for not meeting them. For example, if you are trying to build a habit of reading for 30 minutes a day, you might set a deadline of completing your reading by 9 pm each day. If you do not meet this deadline, you might impose a consequence, such as not allowing yourself to watch TV that evening.

Share Your Goals Publicly: Sharing your goals publicly can also help build accountability. For example, you might post about your progress on social media or share your goals with your colleagues at work. Knowing that others are aware of your goals can provide an extra level of motivation to stay on track.

Keep a Habit Journal: Keeping a habit journal can also be an effective way to hold yourself accountable.  You can set specific goals for your habits and track your progress towards those goals over time. This can help you stay motivated and focused on your goals, as you can see your progress and make adjustments as needed

Accountability is a powerful tool for creating positive habits that stick. Whether it’s through an accountability partner or technology, having someone to report to can increase motivation and consistency. Consider finding an accountability partner or using technology to help you stay on track and make your positive habits a part of your routine.

Learning from Failure: How to Turn Setbacks into Opportunities for Growth

Despite your best efforts, setbacks and failures are inevitable when it comes to creating positive habits. However, instead of giving up or feeling discouraged, you can learn to embrace failure as a natural part of the process.

To overcome failure, try reframing setbacks as learning opportunities. When you fall short, you have the chance to reflect on what went wrong and how you can do better in the future. This can help you make more informed decisions and avoid repeating the same mistakes.

Self-compassion is also key when it comes to dealing with failure. Instead of beating yourself up for falling short of your goals, you can practice self-kindness and understanding. This can help you maintain a positive mindset and stay motivated to keep trying.

To further support this point, research has shown that people who engage in positive self-talk have greater self-esteem and are better able to handle stress and setbacks in their lives. In fact, a study conducted by researchers at the University of Pennsylvania found that students who practiced self-affirmation techniques had better academic performance and were more resilient in the face of stress. This is because positive self-talk can help individuals build confidence and a sense of self-worth, allowing them to tackle challenges with a more optimistic and proactive mindset.

man sitting while technician works on his prosthetic arm
Photo by Raeng on Unsplash

One way to incorporate positive self-talk into your routine is to reframe negative thoughts into more positive ones. For example, if you find yourself thinking “I can’t do this,” try reframing it as “This may be challenging, but I have the skills and resources to figure it out.” By reframing your negative thoughts in this way, you can help shift your mindset from one of defeat and self-doubt to one of possibility and empowerment.

In an interview with Business Insider, Sara Blakely, the founder of Spanx shared her approach to failure and how it has helped her succeed. She said, “I’m a big believer in the power of failure. I’ve always looked at it as a stepping stone to success. In fact, failure is just a way of getting to where you want to go faster because you learn so much from it.”

Blakely’s example shows that failure can be a valuable tool for learning and growth, even in the highly competitive world of entrepreneurship. By embracing failure and using it as a stepping stone, you can develop the resilience and determination needed to succeed in any area of life.

The Joy of Progress: Why Celebrating Small Wins is Essential to Creating Positive Habits

Tracking your progress is an essential component of creating positive habits. By keeping a record of your successes and setbacks, you can see how far you’ve come and stay motivated to continue on your path of personal transformation. 

According to a study published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, people who tracked their progress toward a goal were more likely to achieve that goal than those who did not track their progress. Additionally, those who tracked their progress were more likely to maintain their progress over time.

Let’s say you want to start a daily meditation practice. By tracking your progress, you can see how many consecutive days you’ve meditated and how long each session was. You can also track how you feel before and after each meditation session, which can help you notice the benefits of your practice. By keeping a record of your progress, you can stay motivated to continue meditating and see the positive impact it has on your well-being.

woman sitting on mountain in a heavy coat. She is watching the sunset in the distance.
Photo by Khamkhor on Unsplash

There are many ways to track your progress, and the method you choose will depend on your personal preferences and the habit you’re trying to create. Here are a few ideas to get you started:

Write It Down: Keeping a journal or planner where you can record your progress is an effective way to stay on track. Write down the habit you’re trying to create, how often you want to do it, and then record each time you complete the habit. You can also include notes on how you felt before and after completing the habit and any challenges you faced.

Use An App: There are many habit-tracking apps available that can help you stay motivated and keep you accountable. Some popular options include Habitica, Streaks, and Loop Habit Tracker. These apps allow you to set goals, track your progress, and receive reminders to complete your habit.

Create A Visual Display: For some people, creating a visual display of their progress can be a motivating way to track their habits. For example, if you’re trying to exercise every day, you could create a calendar where you mark off each day you complete your workout. Seeing the chain of completed days can be a visual reminder of your progress and keep you motivated to continue.

Share Your Progress with Others: Sharing your progress with a friend or family member can be a great way to stay accountable and motivated. By letting someone know about your habit and your progress, you’re more likely to stay committed and follow through with your goals.

Whether you choose to write it down, use an app, create a visual display, or share your progress with others, the key is to make it a regular part of your routine. By reviewing your progress regularly, you can stay motivated, adjust your goals if necessary, and celebrate your successes along the way.

In addition to tracking your progress, it’s also essential to be kind to yourself and acknowledge the effort you’re putting into creating positive habits. Personal transformation is not always easy, and setbacks are a natural part of the process. By embracing a growth mindset and viewing setbacks as opportunities to learn and grow, you can continue on your path to becoming the best version of yourself.


Creating positive habits can have a profound impact on your personal transformation. Habits are the building blocks of your daily routine and can shape your identity over time. By intentionally creating habits that align with your values and goals, you can transform yourself into the person you want to be.

The five main points we covered are all essential components of creating positive habits. Starting small can help you build momentum and increase the likelihood of success. Accountability can boost your motivation and consistency. Practicing self-compassion can help you embrace setbacks and reframe failures. And finally, tracking and celebrating your progress can help you see how far you’ve come and stay focused on your goals.

It’s essential to remember that creating positive habits is a process, and there will be ups and downs along the way. However, by adopting a growth mindset and persevering through challenges, you can build the habits that will transform your life. We learned that it takes an average of 66 days to form a new habit. While this may seem like a long time, the benefits of creating positive habits can last a lifetime. By committing to the process of habit formation, you can transform your identity and achieve your goals.

As a personal transformation coach, I have seen the power of positive habits in my clients’ lives. By focusing on habits that align with their values and goals, my clients have been able to achieve significant transformations in their personal and professional lives.

If you’re struggling to create positive habits on your own, consider working with a coach or finding an accountability partner. By having someone in your corner, you can increase your motivation and stay on track.

Remember, personal transformation is a journey, not a destination. By embracing the process of habit formation, you can create the life you want and transform your identity into the person you’ve always wanted to be.

About Brad

Hi, I'm Brad, the founder of Sierramind. My own transformational journey taught me that I am the architect of my own destiny and that the things I think and do in the present moment determine the quality of my future. With that as the foundation of my mindset, everything changed! I developed the Make Your MIND system and the FIBER Framework to share the joy I found and help you build an identity that aligns with your dreams. Make your MIND. Own your destiny!

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