3 Keys To Mastering Habits And Taking Control Of Your Life

3 Keys To Mastering Habits And Taking Control Of Your Life

Think By Design

I think it’s safe to assume that most of the people reading this blog have at least one thing in common…

In the last 3 or 4 weeks, you’ve all taken a minute to reflect on the year that was 2016 and what’s coming up for 2017.

If you read my blog this time last year you’ll know how I feel about New Year’s Resolutions, but as much as the new year is a time for reflection and goal setting, it really boils down to one thing.


If you’re a member of our practice, you know that we’re into promoting healthy habits, in fact, we’ve chosen 12 of the most powerful and impactful health strategies from each category (eat, move, and think) and challenge you each month to complete them.

Setting goals is one thing, and a great habit to take on in and of itself, however, the REAL key to achieving your goals and living your dreams is ACTION.

Consistent, Congruent Action, Over TIME.

Action oriented habits, however, can be pretty tough to develop from scratch.

Anyone who’s tried to quit a bad habit – like smoking – or tried to start a good habit – like going to the gym – knows that it takes a lot of will power not to fall off the wagon in the first week.

In fact, the research now shows that it takes on average 66 days to form a new habit, not 21 as was previously thought. That’s a lot of time and a lot of willpower required to keep you on track.

While there’s no substitute for consistent action, here are some tips to help keep you on track.


Having an accountability buddy can drastically improve your changes of reaching your goal(s).

An accountability buddy is someone to hold you to your word.

Often times when people keep their goals and aspirations private, they fail to live up to them. In their head, it’s a pretty safe move, because if they fail, nobody else saw it.

The external motivation/pressure of having someone check in on your progress at regular intervals adds urgency and primacy of the goal, pushing you to get stuff done.

How much would you get done if you had a daily deadline?

Currently I have an accountability partner who checks in with me daily to see if I’m journaling every day (one of the healthful habits I said I wanted to add this year).

To up the ante, I recommend that a  penalty be enforced by your accountability buddy for non-completion of a task. It could be monetary, or time related, or both. Personally, I recommend donating a large chunk of money to an organization you really don’t like.


You use your phone for just about everything else in your life, so why not put it to use to help you add a new healthy habit.

There are a number of ways that you can do this, but the app I recommend for tracking your habits is called Habit List. (Try HabitBull if you’re an Android user.)

Habit List allows you to nominate habits you want to adopt, habits you want to drop and keep on top of them.

Link Your Habit To A Strong WHY

Changing a habit can be really hard work, so why would you put yourself through it?

Seriously, ask yourself: ‘Why am I doing this?’

Linking habit changes to a core value will make the change more compelling – if it’s not, it will more than likely fall by the wayside.

PRO TIP: Really go deep on your WHY.

For example, if the habit I want to adopt is going to the gym 4 times a week, before I set foot in the gym, I need to really ask myself multiple times why I want to do this…

Me: “WHY?”

Also Me: “To lose 10 pounds.”

Me: “WHY?”

Also Me: “To be healthier.”

Me: “WHY?”

Also Me: “To live longer.”

Me: “WHY?”

Also Me: “To meet my grandchildren.”

You can see how digging deeper into your why creates a totally different and more compelling reason to stick to your guns when it comes to creating healthful habits.

Apply these 3 tips to your habit tracking and see how much more quickly you reach your goals for 2017!

For more strategies to help you create the life you want (and deserve) click below to download your copy of the Think By Design Manual.

DaveDr. David Hawkes is a wellness expert and martial arts enthusiast. Born and raised in Perth, Western Australia, Dr Hawkes’ passion for health and wellness has led him here to Kanata, literally halfway around the world. After graduating from Murdoch University, Dr. Hawkes ran a successful practice in Perth’s western suburbs before moving to Ottawa. Dr. Hawkes has a special interest in family wellness, as well as Peak Performance. He is passionate about helping individuals and families lead their extraordinary lives.