“Motivation is what gets you started, habit is what keeps you going” – Jim Ryun
Starting a new habit is much like a New Year resolutions 99% of the time you quit even before you start.
The ultimate aim of any new habit is to make us better.
Whether it’s eating healthy, losing weight, quit drinking each time we hope to start afresh but we never really see ourselves through the finish line. Have you ever questioned why this happens?
It’s because habit formation is a science, there is a method to it; there are steps involved whenever you are trying to form some new habits.
Developing a new habit is nothing but making changes to our lifestyle, mostly for the better, unless you want to develop some bad habits because you love a miserable life 🙂
So it is only natural that your body will resist it, after all it is too comfortable with your present life style however unhealthy it may be.
Best Tips on Forming New Habits
Here are some easy tips you can take note of when you are trying to develop new habits.
For your convenience I have created a free habit planner that is perfect for your habit formation goals. Sign in at the end of this post to grab your free copy. It’s a really pretty planner BTW!
Plan Before Starting
Do you know why so many people quit their New Year’s resolutions? They don’t plan for it.
The last thing you want to do is start something impulsively and leave it midway.
Before starting a new habit ask yourself what you are trying to achieve with this new habit? how will your life improve?
Best way is to write down your plan this way you will be motivated to stick to your goals.
Start at the beginning of month/week
The start of a year, month and week signifies the beginning, new and fresh.
So whenever you are ready to start a new habit choose the 1st date of a month or begin it at the start of a week.
This way you are more likely to stick to your goals, because by mid-week or month we are so engrossed with our lives we tend to lose some of that enthusiasm.
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How To Stick with New Habits
The difficult part of forming a new habit is the work that it involves and most people give up at this stage.
Sticking to a new habit requires some effort and some discipline on your part and it’s not as difficult as it sounds.
Just try to take it one day at a time and before you know you have formed a new habit.
Stick with it for 21 days
It takes roughly 21 days for a new habit to set and 66 days to fully form and for us to adapt to that new habit.
In other words our brain takes a total of 21 days to register the new habit into our lifestyle.
So all you have to do is stick to any new habit for 3 weeks.
After this extend this time for 9 more days, in this way you will complete a total of 30 days or a month with your new habit.
Repeat this cycle the next month also after 66 days congratulate yourself on successfully forming a new habit!
Motivate the shit out of yourself during this period, this is your testing time. If you are through this period you will have transformed your life a bit better.
Start Small and Set Smaller Goals
Do you know why so many people give up in frustration? They set over ambitious goals and have even bigger expectations.
Any new action should be started gradually to give body, mind and brain to adjust to it.
The same goes for habit-formation too. Like for example if you start exercising to lose weight and expect to lose 10 kg or 20 pounds in a week then it will only increase your frustration.
Besides it’s not really healthy to lose weight that fast.
Set small targets like if you want to start reading make a target of reading 3 pages each day gradually after 3 days increase it to 5 pages, then 10 and so on.
So set small specific targets when beginning a new habit.
One New Habit at a Time
When you are forming new habits stick to just adapting one or two habits.
It is impossible to form 10 different habits at the same time, you will only be overwhelmed.
Take it slow and appreciate the gradual changes.
A good trick when forming new habits is to visualize yourself taking action to form that good habit.
Suppose you want to wake up early and utilize your morning hours, visualize yourself sleeping late and wasting precious hours which you could utilize, replay any past incidences if necessary.
Now visualize yourself setting at least 2 alarm clocks to wake up early.
Next see yourself actually getting up early and doing your tasks you set about to do, like, making some coffee, meditating or putting on some running shoes.
Lastly feel the positive flowing through your body as you perform the task even if it’s only visualization.
Imagine your life getting better by just this simple change.
In your mind create some strong visual image and replay until you actually carry out the task.
Create The Environment
You need to create a proper atmosphere to adapt to a new habit. You have to create a plan and a trigger.
Like you wish to save more money create triggers like committing to save at least 10% of your salary, reading up on saving and investments, learning about tax-benefits, buying a piggy to save any extra cash each week and so on.
This is necessary if you are trying to quit a bad habit. You have to remove any distractions and temptations harming your progress.
Suppose you are trying to eat healthy, you have to limit your junk food intake, hide or discard all brochures and templates for take-away or home delivery, remove any food item in your pantry that is unhealthy and so on.
A great way to stick to your new habit is to create challenges. Challenges are effective in creating motivation and getting you all pumped up on your goals.
Another trick is to get someone who can tag along with you and participate in the challenge or keep you motivated enough to keep you from quitting midway.
Consistency and tracking progress
You know consistency is very difficult to achieve it requires willpower and discipline. I mentioned earlier about the 66 days it takes to form a new habit.
If you are consistent throughout this period you will have a new habit.
But what about after those 66 days? If you feel like quitting, most probably you won’t because if you have continued a habit for over two months you have certainly reaped its benefits.
But being human you may have an urge to quit, sooner or later, because monotony is unavoidable.
To counter such situation create some monthly goals and track your progress every month. It is important to keep things interesting and lure your mind into performing a task.
Also remind yourself at regular intervals why you started and reflect upon how far you have come.
Don’t be disheartened by failures
Brace yourself for failures but don’t let it demotivates you. Don’t expect to be successful at first attempt. Sometimes it takes some tries to form a new habit.
Expect some bumps along the way and take that in your stride, use it as a learning experience and inspiration.
Use catchphrases to counter negativity
Use catchphrases like a chant or a mantra to get all pumped up and continue your habit.
Whenever you feel negative or when you don’t get the desired results use these catchpharses to keep you on the track.
This is a cool trick I learnt from Life.org when you think negative thoughts counter it with” but” like “I’m no good at maths, but, if I practice an hour each day I will get better at it.”
I will admit it’s not easy to makes changes to your life but if the change improves your current state you must consider it. Good habits do just that.
If you are tired of living the same life I would suggest you to take a look at your lifestyle and more importantly look at your habits. In your heart you already know what to do. So change for better inculcates some good habits.
My Free Habit Planner would help you to do just that. So sign in grab the free copy.