Updated: Sep 30, 2021
Adopting new habits is an inseparable part of everyone’s life journey, which lies at the heart of change. The idea of pulling yourself back together and becoming a better version of yourself might seem a bit scary at first, but it can turn out to be very exciting as long as you keep things easy and fun. Of course, commitment and motivation will be required too. However, you probably wouldn’t mind running the mile if you know you’ll feel better as a result of eating right, losing weight, exercising more or enjoying some me-time.
Wondering where to start from? Find out below how to create new habits and make them stick successfully.
1- Meet your habits
Almost half of your daily activities can be perceived as habits. They represent certain actions you perform at the same locations regularly. For example, you have a cup of coffee the moment you wake up in the morning. The more you repeat this behavior, the more affected your brain will be and the very action will turn into a habit that will be hard to change. Therefore, you will automatically have your cup of morning coffee without giving it much thought.
To make your change sustainable, the first step is to observe and identify your daily activities, search for patterns and understand what triggers them. Then, decide what you actually want to modify.
2- Understand how habits work before you modify them
Habits include three main factors – a cue (the trigger that urges you to go something), a routine (the action you perform mechanically), and a reward (the perceived incentive you get).
Say you’re trying to teach yourself to eat breakfast in order not to drink your morning coffee on an empty stomach. First, think of a cue - maybe you can prepare your breakfast from the night before or put a sticky note on your coffee machine saying “have your breakfast first!” Then comes the routine – you eat your breakfast and drink your coffee afterward. It will become an automatic behavior with practice and repetition. Finally, get yourself a small reward. It may sound unnecessary, but it’s crucial in the process of building a habit. So maybe you can spice up your morning coffee or enjoy some me-time - anything that will make your brain feel better and won’t sabotage you to repeat the activity.
3- Create a goal
Now that you’ve met the secret life of habits, it’s time to create some goals.
Reasonable goal setting is the steady foundation on which you will build a long-lasting habit. For instance, ditching all unhealthy foods you’ve been eating for so long overnight is not that realistic and inspiring as excluding them from the menu over the course of a few weeks. Thus, spend some quality time to define what you really desire to change in your life at this very moment, because this step will influence the next to follow.
4- Be specific
Reasonable goals require some specifics as well. Don’t be shy and describe them in details.
If you want to cut junk food out of your life, make a detailed list of all unhealthy products you use. Then, think of more nutritious options to replace them with, where to buy them from and how to cook them. Also, set a time-frame to make it happen. Basically, the more precise you get, the better chance you stand to succeed.
5- Start small
Now that you’ve created a specific goal, it’s time to put it into action. Start small and go big! This means to give yourself enough time to transition from your current self to your better version gradually. Making extreme changes is too demanding and life is enough stressful as it is.
Why is that important? Because your brain requires technical time to shift from one state to another as well as to drop an old habit and replace it with a new one. And that period varies from person to person. So, instead of crossing off your bad habits all at once, work them out one by one consciously and intentionally.
6- Fight through setbacks
You are human and you are entitled to make mistakes. Accept the fact that you might stumble and fall every once in a while. To lower the chances of crashing into too many obstacles, make a forecast of all possible anticipated pitfalls and try to avoid them. And that’s your job to do, because you are the one who knows yourself best.
In case you get the feeling of giving in to junk food, don’t punish yourself. One step back is not a deal-breaker. Repeating behavior is. Instead, let each of your senses enjoy that alluring meal and later on happily get back to your goal. Just try not to fall for that mistake over and over again.
7- Be consistent and patient
Consistency will help you develop automaticity of an anticipated behavior and increase its impact over time. But for how long should you be consistent before you intentionally form a new habit? According to research, between 18 and 254 days which makes the average length 66 days!
Say you have been consistent, but as life happens an urgent issue gets in your way. Whatever it is, try not to let it bring you down. Pull yourself back together, find a way to power through the problem and keep moving forward.
Just remember that there’s no one-fits-all solution! Each journey is individual and it has to be tailored to your personal needs and beliefs. Until you create your perfect match, test different options and see how they work for you. Usually, the right one appears when you least expect it.
8- Final thoughts
Creating new habits is such a thrill! Once you accept the fact that you are ready to make a change, study the nature of your habits and decide what you wish to correct. Think of a realistic and specific goal you can accomplish in the near future. Be bold and start your journey even if you are not ready. Most importantly, allow yourself to fully experience each step of it, because it’s all yours to enjoy!
Meanwhile, we will be right next to you to support you the best possible way we can. We have prepared a wide range of online events whose mission is to help you regain everyday balance. Remember that the power of change is in your hands, and we will feel deeply privileged to assist you in reaching your full potential sooner than expected.