I imagine nearly all of you have made a resolution, a promise, a pact with yourself to stick to a new habit at the start of this year? Are you already finding it too hard, feeling resistance, procrastinating, feeling guilty, self sabotaging, or even broken that hope of sticking to it?
And now you are probably beating yourself up about it and feeling rubbish so early on into 2014. Please do not despair. I would like to give you some insight into why and how you can change that negative cycle. See my key list of inspirations below.
Habits and habit forming is often an automatic response to something that needs to be done or more importantly we like to do. For example brushing our teeth each day is a habit that has become a habit that we all do on “automatic pilot”. We don’t build up resistance to this habit as we know that it is an essential part of our daily routine. Each and every one of us, have a set of our our own list of habits that we do that shape our lives. Maybe you check your emails first thing in the morning whilst waiting for the kettle to boil. Or you may jump straight into the shower whilst still half asleep as you know this habit is one which works beneficially for you at that moment in time.
We invariably stick to the habits that we find easy. If you can learn to stick to a habit, you can do almost anything. Not all habits are in our comfort zone and these habits need to be evaluated to see if they are your habits or an imposed habit by someone else. However, when we start to think about changing something about our lives, maybe getting fitter, losing weight, meditating, giving up something, (less alcohol, cigarettes, social network sites), we don’t think about how we will stick to it when the going gets tough. Not having a strategy to sticking to a habit is the way we can easily give up and fail.
Here are my list of suggestions to help you to set habits that you Want to keep to. The key is making a habit that you believe in, that you love and that is right for you. If you really want to make the space in your life for a new habit, it has to be one which has benefits attached.
1. Make/Do a habit that you love. Be clear about the unique benefits of that habit to you. Give up on the idea of a habit that you don’t like.
2. Implement only one habit at a time, this will give you concentrated energy and focus to that habit.
3. Start with a small habit that can be easily achievable to get you started and as you see that habit forming and your ability to stick to it, this will be your motivating platform to take on more challenging habits that you want to create.
4. Getting started is the most crucial point, you don’t need perfection to start. If you want to start running you don’t need the best running shoes to start, or maybe you want to increase your water intake but you don’t need to fill up a 2 litre bottle. Just start with one extra glass of water a day and maybe a low priced pair of running shoes to begin with. Build on this, one small step at a time.
5. Don’t put obstacles in your way from getting you started, often the answer is I don’t have the money or the time. If a pile of ironing is overflowing, you don’t need to have 2 hours spare. You could set a timer for 15 minutes and make a start. If you want to start eating more fruit, eat one piece a day to begin with. You don’t need to buy a whole fruit basket. Sometimes it is our limited mind saying “all or nothing” but this need not stand in the way.
6. The key to making a habit a habit is the frequency to which you do it, so that it becomes automated. I recommend making any habit a daily habit at least until you get in the full flow. Don’t miss a day.
7. Be accountable to someone. Tell someone else that you are going to be forming this new habit, ask them if they will check up on you daily. Just a short email will work to trigger your accountability to them.
NOTHING WILL CHANGE UNLESS YOU MAKE A DAILY CHANGE, BE KIND TO YOURSELF.