Starting and Sticking with a New Habit
Our intentions are always good, but often we can fail miserably at making better habits than the ones we currently are using stick. It can be difficult to start, but once you get in the swing of things it is easy to stick with good habits. Below we have some suggestions on how to get started making your life a little easier and more productive.
Forming good habits that you will stick with is hard. Much harder it seems than getting into bad habits. Too often when we set out to improve our lives with better habits we overextend ourselves out of the gate (picking too many things to change at an unreasonable rate for where we are currently at) and burn out. Habits are also hard to keep when you get out of a routine you’ve started because of circumstance—think travel, sickness, busy work schedule etc.
Lets face it we are all busy and things do come up. We also are not perfect, but still try to do things that will improve our quality of life. Just because those changes are hard to start and even harder to keep, doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try and can’t succeed. It is all about adjusting your mindset when you decide to start something new to allow yourself the best possible chance of sticking with here. In this article we have a few tips to help you get started on whatever new habits you want to form and keep.
1. It’s easy to want to change everything in your life all at once and eventually you should if that is what you want/need to do. However, diving into everything all at once is a sure fire way to make sure you won’t stick to any positive changes you are trying to make. This might be the most important first step in forming new habits…only pick one thing to start and keep it simple. For instance, if you want to start eating healthier stick with that (don’t start coming up with exercise plans and crazy diets) and pick one thing you can switch out. Say you have a soda everyday, try switching that out for a healthier alternative until you don’t have to think about it anymore. Once that becomes a habit think about making other switches to your diet. Maybe that salty snack you have can be switched to carrots, or that big lunch you always eat can be a salad. Just remember, slow and steady wins this race. Don’t overwhelm yourself by going all out all at once.
2. Pick something you can practice once a day. Something that occurs only a few times a week, or even every month or so is not going to be very helpful when it comes to forming positive habits. You also don’t want to do something that will occur more than once a day because you will burn out. Once you have done whatever you picked consistently everyday for three weeks you can then consider adding other elements to your habit to beef it up.
3. Simply focus on starting. Don’t get ahead of yourself by zeroing in on a final destination. Remember, babies crawl before they walk. Just because you ultimately want to be running marathons doesn’t mean anyone is expecting you to do that right out of the gate. Making sure you go on a brisk walk every morning before work is a great starting point for your ultimate end goal and will keep you on track to accomplish it.
4. Find something you enjoy doing—or can learn to enjoy doing. When you do a habit you hate you are instantly hardwiring negative feedback to yourself making you less likely to stick with it. If you do something you enjoy or can find the joy in accomplishing you are going to be sending positive messaging to yourself and want to keep doing it.
5. Finally, when you decide to go forward with forming a new habit make sure you hold yourself accountable. If you miss one day (it is bound to happen) make sure you don’t miss a second day. Tell friends and family what you are doing so that they can help you to stay on top of your goals. The more people that know what you are up to, the less likely you will be to duck out when things get harder.