“We are what we repeatedly do”
– Will Durant (The Story of Philosophy 1926)
Our whole lives are shaped by our habits. Everything you are today is because of the habits you’ve established over time. Both the negative and the positive. If you want to create some new habits to help you reach your goals then you’ve come to the right place.
Below I’ll share with you 8 ways to build new habits.
Know Your Why
Have a clear understanding of why you want to establish this new habit. Is it so you can be healthier? Be less stressed? Learn a new skill? Have better relationships with friends and family?
Also, know the benefits of the habits you’re trying to incorporate. Research what positive effects these changes will bring to your life. For added motivation, have a look at the negative impacts you could bring to your life if you don’t make these changes too.
Knowing your why will not only help you in the first stages of kicking your habits, but it will also help with your motivation when it falters. When you feel like giving up or you’re lacking in willpower, remind yourself why you’re doing this in the first place.
You may feel inclined to jump in the deep end right away and reach your goals quickly, but this way is pretty much guaranteed to fail. We are creatures of habit. Try to change everything at once and your motivation will falter sooner or later.
Instead, make small, and I mean microscopic, changes. So tiny that you barely notice the difference and it’s not difficult. Sure, this might take some time if you’re only making little tweaks along the way, but you’re far more likely to be able to sustain the results.
- Reading just one page of a book a day can then grow to 5 pages, to 10, and can lead to reading a chapter a day.
- Setting your alarm just 5 minutes earlier, then another 5 and so on, can have you waking up an hour before you do now.
- Carrying a water bottle with you at all times can be the first step to drinking enough water daily.
Just change one small thing at a time, and when you’ve got that down make another small change.
Do It Daily
Habits that you work on every day are more likely to stick than ones you do a couple of times a week.
So, before you start running 3 times a week, start with a short brisk walk every day.
Instead of trying to clean the whole house once a week, choose one area to work on each day.
Try Habit Stacking
Chance are, you already have some good habits in your life. Like brushing your teeth twice a day, or going to work. Use these existing habits as triggers for your new habits with the “if this, then that” method. For example:
- IF I leave the house THEN I will take a bottle of water with me
- IF I brush my teeth THEN I will clean the bathroom sink and toilet
- IF I get paid THEN I will put some money into my savings account.
Try not to set up too many triggers at once, we’re aiming for small and simple changes here. Soon enough these habits will become a normal part of your daily routine that you do on auto-pilot.
Surround Yourself With Positive Inspiration
- Make a vision board and put it up where you’ll see it daily
- Follow Instagrammers and Pinterest boards that align with your goals
- Join clubs and groups (online and in-person) where you can chat with like-minded people (and give yourself some accountability too)
- Read books and blog posts for motivation
- Write down the habits you want to change, and why. Put this somewhere you’ll see it every day. Like on the fridge, by your mirror, near your kitchen sink.
We have a habit of copying behaviours, so surrounding yourself with people and content that resonate with the lifestyle you want to live will have positive effects on your mindset and willpower.
Jump Back Up
The path to success is littered with “failures” (I prefer to call them lessons). You’re not perfect, and you’re going to have days where you’ll feel like all your hard work was for nothing because you slipped up.
Realistically, one day off track isn’t going to stop your long-term progress. Just jump back in the following day. Consistency is key.
This is probably the hardest but most important step; be patient.
You’re not trying to change a habit for a day, you’re trying to change it for life. So it’s not going to take an overnight fix, it’s going to take a lifestyle change. This is why starting with small changes is so important, you need to be able to manage them consistently.
Making just a 1% difference a day still adds up to 100% change over time. Try to commit to changing a habit for one month, then have a look at how much you’ve changed in that time.
Celebrate Your Wins
- Download a new fun playlist or podcast to listen to while you do the housework
- Share your progress with your support network and soak up the praise and love you receive (don’t forget to also give praise and love for others successes)
- Pamper your body with a soothing bath and scented lotions after killing it at the gym
- Make an appointment with a friend to perform the habit so the reward is socialising with someone you care about
One thing I like to do is write down every little win on a piece of paper and put it in a jar, whenever I need a boost I read them to remind myself I’m kicking butt.
TIP: Please do not reward yourself with unhealthy things. It’s just not worth it.
Make building new habits fun by incorporating them with things you love.
I hope reading this has helped you to start building new habits for a happier, more fulfilled life. If you enjoyed this post be sure to check out this one: How To Break Old Habits.
What great habits are you adding to your life? Talk to you all soon.