- Focus on ONE habit at a time
Ever wondered why you have tried and failed so many times? It is because you are trying to make too many changes at once! Changing habits takes time and focus and can easily become overwhelming.
In order to build habits that are sustainable it is essential that you focus on just one habit at a time. In the beginning you may not feel like you are making much progress but once you start adding to your existing habits, the results will show.
- Link the new habit to a trigger
To make it easier to remember your new habit you should schedule it after an existing habit known as a trigger. This way when you have completed your trigger action, you know that you have to do your new habit. This prevents you from putting it off or forgetting about it.
For example, if you want to create the habit of eating breakfast daily you could schedule it after your morning shower (which is your existing habit).
- Imagine your long-term reward
Some actions will give you immediate or short-term rewards that can help you stick to them. For example, if your new habit is to do 10 minutes of cleaning up every night then the reward is waking up to a clean home. However, the reward for some habits will not be as obvious.
If your new habit is to go running everyday then you may feel discouraged by your aching muscles or by how tired you feel. For high-resistance habits like this you need to constantly remind yourself of your goals. This is so important when making fitness and weight loss goals and the achievement can take a while!
- Start small
If a habit seems really daunting it is best to start small. If your long-term goal is to go running for 30 minutes each day, your starting habit could be to run 2 or 3 days a week and then work your way up to running every day!
To break it down further your habit could be the preparation before your actual goal. In the example of running, the new habit could be putting on your running clothes everyday. It is an easy task but it will motivate you to actually complete your goal.
- Make it easy
In the beginning it is important to remove any resistance from your new habit. If you want to start eating healthy but only have unhealthy snacks at home then sticking to your new habit will be difficult. To make it easier you should make sure to have healthy snacks easily available – this is where planning comes into play!
Preparation is key. If you want to start working out in the morning then a tip to make it easier is to lay out your workout clothes the night before.
- Track your new habit
Habit trackers are a great way to motivate you to follow through with your new habits. They work both as visual reminders and motivators. When we check off items on our habit trackers our brain releases dopamine which makes us feel good.
- Don’t be discouraged by mistakes
Mistakes. We all make them in the beginning! It is important that you don’t let your mistakes prevent you from continuing with your new habit.
If you forget to complete your habit one day, put that behind you and remember your end goal. Messing up one day isn’t going to affect your long-term results but giving up on your habit will.