Whether you smoke like a chimney, bite your nails down to the nub, or snack even when you are not hungry, you know how easy it is to develop a bad habit, and once your have that habit ingrained in you, how hard it is to stop. However, it seems as though trying to form a good habit is a lot more challenging. Here is how you can introduce a new habit and make it stick!
One thing at a time
You might want to drink more water, go to the gym more and remember to do your facial cleansing every night before bed, but that is a lot of things to focus on all at once, and you are likely to drop the ball on them all. Instead, choose one to focus on at a time, so that all of your willpower can be channeled into that one new habit – once it is a subconscious habit, then it’s the perfect time to tackle something else.
There is a lot of different advice when it comes to how long you need to work on something for it to be a habit; from 21 days to 66! The easiest way to commit is to aim for a month as it is very measurable and will hopefully do the trick. Once you have done something every day for a whole month, it will become second nature, and it will feel weirder not to do it!
Add it into your day
Rather than making a big commitment that is difficult to implement, make your new habit a part of your daily routine. Find somewhere that it will slot in nicely that you already do every day, and make it a new part of that routine. For example, after you brush your teeth, you will commit to taking off your makeup. By anchoring your new habit with behavior that you already do consistently, you are taking off the pressure to remember, or fit in something new.
It is easy for the first few days to hit your target every day and feel proud, but eventually the motivation and novelty will wear off, and this is where many people fail. The key to developing a habit is by focussing on micro-commitments and therefore focussing on any small wins. Make it so that it is impossible to fail, even if you slightly underachieve. For example, you will get off the bus one stop earlier to walk for an extra 3 minutes every day. They are simple, and perhaps not the full goal you are aiming for, but this way you avoid complete failure which leads to giving up.
Be ready for obstacles
Everything in life is subject to obstacles and the best way to tackle these stumbling blocks is to be prepared for them. Consider what obstacles might get in your way (for example, time, weather, costs, space, etc.) and use this list to prepare and anticipate. For example, if it is raining when you want to go on your daily run, instead of not working out at all, you could do an exercise class at the gym, or a workout DVD at home. If you run out of money to get the fancy skincare options, you will still take your makeup off and cleanse and tone with cheaper alternatives.
These things may sound challenging, but we make habits subconsciously all the time – some of them good, and some of them not so great! Be in control of your own life and your own habits by making the effort to create some positive habits yourself.