Habits are formed with good intentions and solid structure. We don’t just fall into most habits. At least, not the ones that are good for us. We have to work at them.
Think for a moment about the difference between exercising and working out. Many of us exercise, fewer of us work out. In the distinction between those two activities lies an important lesson for getting better and creating good habits. Exercise is willful and, usually, intentional. However, it lacks the structure, purpose, and goals of a good workout.
The same is true for attempting to forge new habits. Engaging in an action once in a while or when the situation demands it is intentional but not foundational. We have to practice an action every day, making it a routine. Through repetition, the routine becomes second nature until, finally, it becomes a habit.
We aren’t conscious about many of our most important habits because they have reached the state where they happen reflexively or automatically. This is a result of deep commitment and high repetition.
Forging a new habit isn’t easy, but it only requires some structure along with good intentions. Make a habit of creating new habits by creating the structure (think daily workouts) to support it. You’ll be better for it.