How to make new habits

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So the old adage goes. But is this a reason not to try and change them? Of course it’s not and changing old, unwanted habits is the key to being able to change behaviors and adopt newer healthier habits that will move us nearer to our goals. What’s a habit anyway, if its not just something that we repeatedly do, without thinking about it, as if we’re on auto-pilot. The common example of cleaning your teeth is well used but a great example, you don’t think about it, you just do it, no questions asked. That’s the goal of creating new habits, we want them to be automatic, things we do everyday with no thought required. But it’s so hard isn’t it….when the habits we already have are so ingrained and deep rooted, changing them is such a hassel, often by the time we’ve realized we’re not supposed to be doing something we’ve already done it. Flip this on it’s head and you’ll see thats a good thing. You’re capable of creating a habit so powerful you’ve not realized you’ve done it.

So here’s the guide I’ve found works, I’m still trying and sometimes getting it right and sometimes getting it wrong, but I’m sticking with it, adding in new behaviors and trying to lose others, but always trying to move forward.

START SMALL

I started with flossing my teeth. I’d read about this as a small starting habit and it was easy to stick to. I did it sometimes anyway but not all the time, now I do it all the time. If I don’t do it, I feel odd, as if I’ve missed something. 

DO IT EVERYDAY

If you don’t commit to a new habit everyday, you’re massively reducing your chances of creating a successful new lasting habit. Every time you repeat your new habit you’re reinforcing it, so not doing it often reduces the chances of it sticking. 

MAKE NOTES

I use a planner, and in my planner I have a list of the new habits I want to form, and I tick them off every time I do them. This serves a couple of purposes, firstly, it’s much harder NOT to do something if it’s right in front of you, not letting you forget about it. And secondly, being the rock’n’roll type I am, I like to go back over the weeks and check my consistency.  I’ll get away with something if I can and so I need to hold myself accountable. This works for me, you mught try it to. 

KEEP YOUR WHY CLOSE BY

Why are you trying to change your habits? Whats destructive about your old ones? Write down why your doing what your doing.   eg/ As I’m talking myself into going for another coffee whilst out, I ask myself why I’m trying to cut out this habit. So I tell myself it’s because I’m trying to save the pennies to achieve my goals of security. Then I think twice and don’t go. You get the idea. You’ve got to keep your reasons close to you. They’re your motivation to keep going. 

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