Have you ever made a goal, or a new year’s resolution and never reached it? If so, I’d like to help. Creating a new habit and making it stick can actually happen, it just takes time. Yep I said it…time.
Instead of jumping into a fad or a quick fix, a change needs to become a part of your lifestyle to actually stick. Most of us know or have experienced the “fad” or “quick fix” to not have lasting effects and actually make matters worse.
Like gaining more weight back than you lost, slowing down your metabolism, spending money you didn’t have to spend or getting injured.
You can create sustainable good habits and it doesn’t have to be so difficult or painful. It can actually be fun.
Here are 7 tips to help you develop good habits and make them stick:
1. KISS (Keep it simple sweetie)! Start small.
Most people want to create big change as quickly as possible. They want to go from zero to five workouts every week, switch to a healthy diet overnight, and meditate for 20 minutes every day even thought they’ve never meditated in the past. That’s why the solution is toSTART SMALL! That way it doesn’t create hardly any work or willpower.
2. Consistency is key.
It’s not so much what you do but how often you do it that helps with your success. It’s more likely to become a part of your routine and the more successful you will feel. For example, drinking an extra glass of water a day, soon will become your norm.
3. Clear intentions (aka be VERY SPECIFIC).
What do you want? Why do you want it? I mean, why do you REALLY want it? How will you do it? How will you know when you’ve reached it? How can you measure it? How will your life be different when you’ve created and are living out that healthy new habit? Be as specific as you can.
4. Be realistic.
You won’t be perfect, sorry, no one is. It has to be something you can maintain. Progress not perfection.
Look at your week, what can you do this week? You might crush it one week getting in 4-5 workouts and another week you only get 2 workouts in. Be realistic with yourself. This way you manage your expectations and are happier with yourself instead of letting yourself down. You will have more successes. It helps you get rid of the “all or nothing” mentality.
5. Commit to 30 days.
By committing to forming a new habit and creating change in life takes time. By giving yourself 30 days, you will start to gain momentum. Then commit to another 30 days. Fine tuning your habit as you go.
6. Get an accountability buddy.
Hang out with people who already have this habit as part of their life style. We become like the people we hang out with. Ask someone to hold you accountable (little tip – usually not your spouse). Have them check in on how things are going, where you are struggling, what resources do you need, and to cheer you on. Just telling someone makes us more accountable. But being able to verbally process the struggles, joys and emotions of it all, is hugely beneficial.
7. Celebrate your successes.
We must stop and celebrate the small steps that get us to our destination. We must take time and look at where we came from instead of constantly focusing on where we want to go. I love the quote “It isn’t the destination but the journey along the way that counts.” I’ve found that to be true many times.
My suggestion is take it month-by-month. An example would be something like this…
January – workout more. One week it might be 4x and another week it might be 2x. Just doing more than what you’re already doing. Or not allowing yourself to go more than 2 days without exercising.
February – drink more water. Start drinking one more glass a day until it becomes a habit. Then add another one.
March – go out to eat less. Start with not going out to eat for 2 meals the first couple of weeks. Once you have that down, try 3, then 4 meals.
April – get more sleep. Go to bed 15 minutes earlier 3 nights a week. After a week or two try making it 30 minutes earlier, getting no less than 7 hours.
What’s great about making changes slowly and making it part of your lifestyle is, it’s way more likely to stick. Soon exercise, drinking water, going out to eat less, getting more sleep, etc. becomes your new norm. It’s all about creating new healthy habits one slow and steady step at a time.
If one month isn’t enough or life got in the way that month (which it does for all of us), repeat the same goal for 2 months, or however long it takes. Create a habit behavior first. Never increase or change an effort before it has become a natural part of what you do.
The common mistakes that most people make when setting goals are:
1. They aren’t specific enough.
2. They aren’t realistic goals.
3. They try to do too much too fast.
Don’t fall into this trap. Take it day-by-day, week-by-week. When I’m going to jog on the treadmill and don’t really feel like it, I take it minute by minute. Soon 1 minute turns into 5 and 5 turns into 10. Also, stop living life by emotions. Instead do what is healthy, right and true, not what’s fast, easy or cheap.
What can you do this week to be a healthier you? Now go do it! The world needs you to be your healthiest and best you!
Whether you think you can or can’t you’re right. So think positively and when you fall, which you will, pick yourself up, dust off and start right back again. You must be resilient, you must keep moving forward. You can do this!