As we previously looked at, bad habits can be difficult to kick. However, not all habits are bad. There are certain routine activities you can form into habits that actually better your health, like exercise habits, work habits or something you do to better yourself. Unfortunately, just as bad habits are hard to get rid of, it’s not easy to make a good habit stick.
Time and dedication help to form routines and that’s just the beginning of how we form our habits. But there are ways to keep those positive behaviours a part of your life. So if you’d like to incorporate some of them to your daily routine, check out some helpful tips to making them stick.
Set a timetable.
The end goal with trying to establish a new habit is to make it such a normal and regular part of your life that you hardly even notice that you’re doing it. Of course, that’s not how it’s going to be when you’re just starting out. These habits are new to your life and therefore you’ll need to spend some time assimilating them into your schedule. Give yourself 30-days to dedicate to this habit. Don’t skip any days, don’t get lazy and don’t make excuses. Just 30-days of giving this new habit your attention. Your don’t need a deadline for when you need to be done, but it’s important to keep this strict timeline up front to ensure you’re off to a good start.
Activities become habits due to regularity. You start doing something enough then your internal clock just starts to accept it as part of your routine. However, breaks in the activity, especially at the beginning can disrupt the routine and set you back to square one. Stay on course for those first 30-days. There will be distractions and temptations. You’ll want to make exceptions but if you start saying “yeah, but…” now, when does it stop? Consistency is very important to your success here.
Keep things simple.
When starting a new activity, you may feel inclined to go all or nothing. Brave as that is, it’s more likely to cause you to stumble. Piling on too much too fast makes the task that much more difficult. It can also work to dissuade you if you do fail as you’ll see it as a much more difficult task than it needs to be. If you’re aiming big because that’s your ultimate goal, then great, there’s no reason you should abandon that, but it’s not a race to get there. Start small and build on it as it becomes more routine. It’s a much simpler and accessible way to making a new habit stick.
As mentioned before, temptations will be a pretty big hurdle to overcome. When you’re trying to give up a certain kind of food, it might seem doable at the moment, but then you see commercials for your favorite burger joint and your friends are going out to eat, and suddenly it’s not so easy anymore. You’re going to miss those things that were easier but stood in the way of your goal. To help fight back against temptations, find replacements for those things you’ll miss. Instead of going out to Happy Hour with your friends, get coffee with them. instead of watching television, read a book. Simple swaps can distract you as the temptation inevitably starts to fade.
Keep your eye on the prize.
No matter what methods you use to establish your new habit, it won’t be easy. You’ll probably want to quit at one point or another. In these instances, the only thing you can do is remind yourself why you’re doing this in the first place. What will you gain from having this habit become a part of your routine? The reward is why we do these types of things and a healthier lifestyle is a pretty good reward. You can be specific with your rewards to, or give yourself your won reward as motivation – though nothing that will undo your progress. We all need that little kick every once in a while to keep moving forward, you can need to figure out where the kick is coming from.