When I was younger I had a ton of bad habits, including:
1. An unhealthy diet - I ate pretty much anything I wanted all the time. Fried dumplings. Fried chicken wings. Fried...well, you get the idea. I started having chest pains at 21.
2. Forgetting to call people back - "Oh that's right! You left me a voicemail a few days ago... Sorry..." That was a common way to start off a phone call for me a few years ago. People were really excited to hear back from me.
3. Not paying attention - I'd be at an event, strike up a conversation with someone and then halfway through they'd ask me what I thought. I had no idea what we were talking about, of course. #fail.
And yet, despite all these bad habits, I was able to fix every single one of them.
I used this system below to help me get back on track.
Here are 4 tips on how to create and maintain great habits:
1. Write every idea for good habits down - Try to think of 3 good habits a day. Whether it's about relationships, manners, health, creativity, lifestyle or any other topic, the best way to get awesome ideas for habits is to continually come up with new ones. Quantity begets quality.
2. Learn from others - There are a ton of resources out there that are completely free! Check out Tim Ferris, Lifehack, Seth Godin, Tony Robbins, Jim Rohn or Google "top habits" and you'll probably see a ton of high quality articles for you to read! Don't recreate the wheel.
3. Create rules with If - Then statements - I used this hack to help me eat healthier. I created this rule: if it's breakfast, then eat a fruit and vegetable smoothie made with my Nutribullet. My track record: Over 70% of my breakfasts have been healthy smoothies for the past three years. (Hey, it's okay to live a little the other 30% of the time). Recently I've even started eating it with my lunches! You can eventually condition yourself to follow these rules to instill good habits.
Here's another example, if I miss a call from someone, I put a reminder on my calendar to call them back. This way if I'm busy at the moment and can't do a call, later on I'll still get a pop up reminding me to call them. If I put them on the calendar, then I have to call them back because I've blocked that time off for them (no excuses).
4. Reduce your decisions: Having a ton of options isn't always productive. In many cases less is more. For example: I noticed I had trouble being on time for work because I would take a few extra minutes deciding what to wear. Should I wear a plaid or Henley shirt today? Blue or green? Here's what I did. I reduced my wardrobe to just three pants and three shirts for work. Now I can get ready in record time!
Creating good habits is easy. Maintaining good habits is hard.
What are some of your tips on creating good habits?
This question originally appeared on Quora - the knowledge sharing network where compelling questions are answered by people with unique insights. You can follow Quora on Twitter, Facebook, and Google+. More questions: