Do you struggle to make and keep good habits? Making a change is challenging because it requires overcoming the resistance to return to what you know. Integrating new behaviors into your life requires repetition, leading many people to give up before the new routine has been able to set in. Keep reading to discover five ways to establish more valuable habits that stick.
1. Start Small
Any productivity expert or lifestyle website will tell you that one of the best ways to develop a new habit is to start small. Many times, people are overly optimistic with their goals. You would need tremendous willpower to just jump into a new routine and expect to do it well. Easing into things is a better strategy. So, instead of trying to begin a new five-mile morning jogging routine three times a week, start out with something more manageable. Perhaps taking a jog around the block should be your target, and then you can add more distance gradually. You’ll be more likely to stick with it if you break big goals into smaller chunks.
2. Choose One Thing
Another way people often get carried away when they want to make change is by trying to tackle multiple new behaviors all at one time. This is a recipe for disaster. A better approach would be to choose just one activity for now. Take time to master that new habit and use your success as a catalyst to add another goal. This momentum will carry you through the rough beginning stages until you’ve firmly established yet another good habit. Think about breaking your fitness goals into eating well and exercising. Focus on whichever one seems less intimidating. Learn how to shop for healthy foods and incorporate them into tasty recipes. Start weaning yourself from foods that aren’t good for you. Then, start adding trips to the gym to your routine. If you’d rather, you can add exercise first, taking the time to discover which types of physical activity you enjoy and creating your ideal workout regimen.
3. Set Up Cues
There are several ways to trick your brain into establishing habits that stick. One is to attach your new habit to something that is already part of your everyday routine. For example, if you want to start that jogging habit, it might be a good idea to set your running shoes and workout clothes next to your bed each night. You’ll see them there in the morning, which will be your cue to get dressed and take that jog around the block.
4. Have Accountability
It can be so tempting to turn your alarm off and go back to sleep, telling yourself you’ll go jogging tomorrow morning. However, if you make yourself accountable to someone else, you’re more apt to follow through with your plans. This accountability can come in various ways. Maybe you’ll ask a trusted friend to check in on your goal progress on occasion. Knowing someone is going to ask about your jogging routine might give you the incentive you need. Perhaps that push can even come from posting your intentions on social media. Putting it out there to your network could sufficient motivation. Getting a goal buddy is often the best accountability strategy for some people. Having someone to jog with might make the task more fun. In addition, you won’t want to cancel on someone who is depending on you to keep them company. An accountability partner can be a real win-win when it comes to establishing new habits.
5. Reward Yourself
While it may be second nature to scold yourself every time you miss a workout, when is the last time you celebrated a small win or praised yourself for your success? Rewards are a much stronger motivator than criticism, so why not give yourself a small prize for certain milestones? These celebrations can empower you to keep going and make it easier to make it through the tough times.
These tips can help you to create a strong foundation for adding new habits to your routine. Give them a try and see how much progress you make toward your goal. You may be surprised at the amount of success you have.