Habits are automatically performed behaviors that free resources from your brain, allowing you to dedicate your conscious thoughts to more complex decisions and tasks. A few common habits include taking the same route to work, acts of personal hygiene and grooming, and even waking up at the same time every day.
Your habits play a major role in defining who you are and the quality of life you live. Therefore, it’s in your best interest to cultivate good ones and avoid the bad ones. Ridding yourself of your less healthy habits can be challenging given that they may be heavily influenced by or ingrained in your lifestyle. Fortunately, you don’t have to just go cold turkey one day; practicing a new habit in their place instead can be a counteractive and proactive solution.
Forming a new habit is frequently brought about by having an intention or goal in mind. Sticking to it is done by following these tried and true practices:
Begin With An Unbelievably Small Task
Bigger habits are the result of smaller habits continuously done and built upon over time. Aiming for an overnight fix will easily exhaust you and nudge you into quitting soon after the attempt. Making little adjustments gives you time to adapt to the changes you’re making.
For example, dedicating an hour every day to a new workout routine may be easier said than done for most individuals who have yet to commit to a consistent physical training schedule. Begin with five minutes of stretching and light maneuvers instead. Allow these simple movements to become the foundation of your desired outcome: regular exercise.
Connect Your Habits Together
Attaching the habit you want to develop to any preexisting habits increases your likelihood of accomplishing it. This could look like making yourself a healthy breakfast after finishing one of your morning habits or listening to a five-minute guided meditation after taking a short walk. By continuously doing tasks one after the other, you will be less likely to rely on having enough emotional motivation and instead go off of the momentum you built.
Keep Tabs On Your Development
Failing to track your progress is one of the major reasons you may fail your new year’s resolutions. Having a written or digital record of your performance (no matter how much or how little you think you’ve improved) allows you to look at the reality of how far you’ve come. This consequently empowers you to push yourself further and keep working towards your desired end result. Over time, you may realize that you will be able to set a new baseline for yourself and set even higher goals.
Set Yourself and Your Environment Up for Success
There is no better way to succeed than to plan for it. Select a few affirmations that resonate with you and stick them on a wall you see daily. Ask for support from your loved ones. Incorporate healthy rewards for both minor and major milestones. Create a vision board that allows you to visualize your goals for the next month, year, or even decade.
Train yourself to associate tasks with certain spaces only. For example, you can dedicate a specific corner in your living room for reading. Then, take it a step further and design that area to be conducive for building that habit. Surround yourself with books you’re interested in. Make sure you get enough lighting. Reduce as many distractions as you can. Invest your energy into making good habits easier to perform and bad habits more inconvenient.
Do It Every day
Successful people are direct reflections of their daily habits. For instance, author and life coach Dr. Stacia Pierce chooses to journal daily. She says that it can be used for more than venting your thoughts or recapping your day. It can be a useful tool for planning your goals and visualizing your future. Having words and images written down on paper solidifies the idea in your head.
You can also schedule a time to reflect on your previous entries. Identify the factors that influence your daily, weekly, or even monthly activities. Through this, you can gain a deeper understanding of your routine and overall lifestyle that will guide you moving forward.
Build Your First Habit Today
Follow in the footsteps of highly successful people and keep these best practices in mind as you work on your chosen habit. As a bonus, the more habits you sustain, the easier it will be to form more in the long term. So start small, link it to a preexisting daily routine, prepare for success, and become your own best cheerleader as you monitor your progress and celebrate the little victories.