4 Simple Steps to Kick-Start a Successful Habit

Dr. Kevin Gazzara
5 min readOct 9, 2022

Let’s Begin

You have decided that you want to change your life. You’ve got a goal in mind. What can you do to ensure that you achieve success? You know that you will need to adopt certain success habits. The following steps will help you ensure successful habit formation.

Before we launch into the four steps, let’s look at the three elements that form our habits. Charles Duhigg clearly identifies these three elements in his seminal book “The Power of Habit”. There is a Cue or a trigger that alerts us to take an Action, which continued action creates a routine, and the result of completing the routine delivers us some type of Reward. This is also known as a reinforcing cycle or loop. Once you recognize the cycle you can change it, if so desired. The typical human response is to change the cue, by removing it from your environment or avoiding it all together. The problem with this approach is that you have not addressed the root cause of the problem which can lie in the routine or the reward.

Duhigg stresses that recognizing that the cue can emerge regardless of avoidance or removal, so replacing the current routine with an alternative routine is paramount to long-term success. I critical factor is that the routine should be positive and create an alternate reward that is desired and tangible.

The Habit Loop

“A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step” Lao Tzu. So, let’s begin our 4-step journey.

1. Plan

Success habits don’t just happen by accident, they are created by design. Developing a plan will increase the chances of your successfully creating a new habit. Think of the plan as a roadmap. Include your starting point, the final goal, and all the steps along the way. Don’t forget to note down potential obstacles and how you will overcome them.

Many people include a vision board in their planning. This is a terrific way to see what your goal looks like, and when placed somewhere that you will see it regularly can reinforce the goal you want to achieve. Once you have your vision or vision board created, keep it in close sight as a reminder and reinforcement of the path you aspire to take.

2. Focus

You must be committed to your goal of creating a new habit. If you are not dedicated, then the chances of succeeding in attaining it are dramatically reduced. It is crucial to believe that you will create your new habit and to be able to see yourself doing it.

Write down a positive statement that affirms you have created your new habit.

For example, if you want to create the successful habit of waking early then you could write, “I’ll wake at 5.00 am every day refreshed and ready to start my day.” Then a statement of what you will do with this new change. “I’ll use my extra time to walk or jog in nature for 20 minutes and to eat a healthy breakfast.” And finally, the benefits you will gain from doing this. “I’ll spend 30 minutes reading a motivational book because I know that it helps me improve my knowledge and will inspire me.

3. Practice

Habits take 21 days to become routine. This means that you need to ensure that you build time into every day to practice your new habit.

To ensure that you complete the full 21 days, you should identify any potential distractions that may cause you to want to skip a day. Knowing what might interfere with your daily habit practice ensures that you can put in place the plans you have already crafted to overcome it. Without a plan, preparing the response at the moment will feel more daunting than it needs to be.

In addition, a positive mindset is vital, as is commitment. If you are committed to creating the new success habit and you understand why it is important to your overall plans and goals, then you will be more able to overcome challenge points.

4. Reward

When you set out to create a new success habit, you have your plan for how you are going to achieve it and what life will look like once that happens. Don’t forget to build in a reward. Make it something that you genuinely want and value. It doesn’t have to be big, but it does have to be important to you. By planning a reward when you have created your new habit you will be more emotionally invested in creating the habit.

Write down your reward or get a picture of it and put it somewhere where you will see it every day. This, along with your vision statement, will reinforce the desire to succeed and strengthen your motivation to achieve your goal.

Closing Thoughts

Before starting your work, make sure that you plan your day and revisit your vision statement.

Self-knowledge is crucial to creating new habits, as well as eliminating old ones. You need to understand your strengths and weaknesses. It is important to know where you are right now, where you want to be and what needs to change. By understanding yourself, you can create a growth mindset https://magnaleader.co/GRowth. This ensures that you understand that action is important to create the change which leads to sustained success.

By recognizing the three elements in the habit loop and using the four steps above you will be creating a positive mental attitude towards creating a new success habit. Don’t try to create too many new habits at once. It is simpler and more realistic to create one new habit at a time. And if you are struggling with consistency and persistence, inviting someone along your journey to help may be your best approach for sustained success.

Dr. Kevin Gazzara — is a senior partner and founder of Magna Leadership Solutions, based in Phoenix, Arizona. He is the co-author of “The Leader of OZ” andReady, Set, Get Hired. He is an international speaker and recognized as a Management & Leadership Expert and an ICF and Positive Intelligence certified Executive Coach. Kevin has been a professor at 6 Universities developing and teaching programs to help others achieve their full potential. You can follow Kevin and Magna Leadership Solutions on our website: www.magnaleadership.com, on Twitter: https://twitter.com/doctorkevin, on our Facebook Fan Page at https://www.facebook.com/MagnaLeadership or join my LinkedIn Network https://www.linkedin.com/in/kevingazzara/

We would be excited to speak with you about your current leadership challenges. Please click here to connect with me: https://Magnaleadershipkevin.youcanbook.me

If you have any comments, suggestions, or ideas, we encourage you to share your thoughts with us and our readers in the comments below.

Thank you,
Dr. Kevin Gazzara
Senior Partner at Magna Leadership Solutions and Certified Positive Intelligence ICF Coach



Dr. Kevin Gazzara

CEO of Magna Leadership Solutions, Certified ICF &Positive Intelligence Coach, Management Expert, Professor, Speaker, Author. Contact: Kevin@Magnaleadership.com