Have you ever sat down, taken stock and decided to change a whole host of things about your life? Did you get overwhelmed quickly and sink back into your old, comfortable patterns? You’re not alone.
We all have good habits we’d like to adopt, or bad ones we want to quit. Maybe it’s eating better, or saving money, getting up early or going to bed at a consistent time, or even just as simple as making sure to floss your teeth. Whatever the habit, good or bad, here are some ways to set yourself up for success.
Great Habits Are Formed Daily.
The more important part of building a new habit is staying consistent. In the beginning, don’t strive for perfection in your new habit—doing something perfectly once or twice isn’t going to matter if you don’t stick with it anyways. Instead, start small. So small that your new habit is so easy that your mind struggles to invent an excuse not to do it! It’s much easier to intensify or perfect your efforts than to build the habit from scratch.
Bust Through Your Barriers—or Work Around Them.
When we first start to make a change, our own mind can be our worst enemy. Instead of telling yourself that you are just not the type of person who likes working out or who can resist sweets break your existing patterns down into small elements and try to navigate the barriers and excuses your mind invents. The people who stick with good habits understand exactly what is holding them back, so examine your own thinking and identify exactly where things start to break down for you.
Even if you manage all of your mind’s excuses, there will still be moments when you really hit a wall. When that happens, ask yourself how you will feel if you do, or don’t, perform the new habit 10 minutes from now, in 2 months, and in 2 years time. That quick check-in with yourself will help remind you that it feels good when you’ve stuck to your commitment to yourself, and reminds you of your long-term goals as well.
Set a Schedule, Not a Deadline.
Once you realize that consistency is the most important part of making a change, you’ll realize that your goals aren’t the most important part of your plan. Instead of giving yourself a deadline by which to lose weight, or save a certain amount, focus on holding yourself to a schedule and developing the component parts of your new habits.
Having long-term goals, like running a marathon or saving up enough for a big trip, is an important motivator for many people, but a life goal is very different from a habit. To achieve a major life goal, you may need to develop a bunch of new habits over time. Tackling them in small, but consistent, ways will get you to your goal.
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