Today I’ll share with you how to form a habit and stick to it.
A habit is repeated behaviour that you do daily, without thinking about it. What you eat, when you sleep, how you like to spend your evening are nothing but your habits.
“You’ll never change your life until you change something you do daily. The secret of your success is found in your daily routine.” ―John C. Maxwell
I was addicted to a very inactive and relaxed routine where I would do the same things that were in my comfort zone.
Certain bad habits were negatively affecting my life.
I wanted to break them and create new good habits.
I thought, to get out of my comfort zone and trying out a new thing is going to be a challenging task.
Sure it was, but what I found even more challenging was to continue doing it.
I wanted to see a better me, I wanted to grow, and I was motivated, so I kept using trial and error method till I finally figured out seven golden steps to develop a habit.
I am sure you must have also started a new habit only to quit it because you are clueless about how to go on with it.
Now every time I have to develop a new habit, I stick to these seven steps. I hope these tips will help you form new habits and stick to them.
7 STEPS TO FORM A NEW HABIT AND STICK TO IT
1. PICK UP ONE HABIT AT A TIME
I know you are excited and ready to change your world.
There is a cascade of thoughts telling you to abandon a lot of things and start doing many others, but I suggest you go slowly.
Remember slow and steady wins the race.
Developing a habit requires focus, and for obvious reasons, you cannot focus on a lot of things at the same time along with carrying on with your daily chores.
Trying to make too many changes in your life leads to nothing but confusion.
So pick up one habit at a time and work on it till it becomes an entrenched part of your routine.
2. START TODAY
If you want to develop a habit, then today is the day and now is the time.
Do not wait for any special day to begin something new. Stop delaying things for tomorrow.
What you have right now is your magic moment. Stop thinking about it and get started now.
Procrastination is your enemy, which never lets you meet your goal.
If you leave things for tomorrow in no time it will become never.
No matter how small of a habit you want to develop, start working on it today.
3. SET REALISTIC GOALS
It is easy to start but difficult to continue.
One of the main reasons why people don’t stick to their goal is over-expectation.
They set the bar too high and make unachievable goals.
You know what you can deliver and what you can’t. So why keep a target you know, can’t be achieved?
For example – You usually wake up at around 8 in the morning, and now you want to get into the habit of waking up around 5 AM.
“I will wake up at 5 in the morning from tomorrow” is an unrealistic resolution. Chances are you’ll hit the snooze button multiple times and go to sleep again.
So, instead of setting up an alarm for 5 in the morning, try waking up 30 minutes earlier from your usual timing.
Once you are comfortable with that, try to wake up another 30 minutes earlier, and so on.
Try to bring changes in your life slowly.
Give yourself time to getting used to your new habits.
No matter how enthusiastically you begin your journey, you’ll end up giving up because the results won’t show up like you expect them to be.
Allow yourself to slowly adjust to the changes and don’t bombard yourself with over expectations.
4. MAKE A PLAN
“A goal without a plan is just a wish”- Antoine De Saint-Exupery
Can’t emphasize how important this step is.
You want a change and it won’t happen just by mere thinking and wishing. Work towards it.
You need to figure out what comes in your way of achieving what you want and eliminate the root cause with the help of a plan.
For example – Think about, why are you not able to get into the habit of waking up early? Maybe you sleep too late, or you are too tired to go to work.
Instead of pushing yourself daily to wake up early, listen to your body and change your nighttime routine.
Begin with planning your day before making weekly and monthly plans. This will help you slowly adjust to the changes and allow you to understand what works for you.
Making a plan lets you focus and helps you stay committed.
When you have a plan ready, you know exactly what to do and what to expect.
You don’t do things vaguely anymore.
5. KEEP A RECORD
I know “KEEP A RECORD” sounds so much like a business thing.
Trust me this step is a saviour in disguise.
Keep a record of your activities which affect your habit formation.
For example – If you are working towards eating healthy, keep a record of what you ate in a day, how many days you ate something which was not a part of your plan and so on.
Every ten to fifteen days analyse your record and try to look for a pattern, which deviates you from your target.
Maybe it’s a bag of chips that appears too many times on your record because it’s the easiest thing to grab when you are hungry.
If this is the case, then replace that packet of chips with something healthier like fruits.
6. REWARD YOURSELF
Boo-yah! Time for a treat.
Associate rewards with habit formation.
Decide to give yourself something you want as an acknowledgement to your hard work.
For example – You successfully woke up at 6 in the morning consecutively for 15 days?
Amazing. Gift yourself something like you would give someone else to make them feel special.
You deserve a gift girl!
This acts as positive reinforcement and unconsciously prepares you, for giving positive outcomes in future.
Or use the reward as motivation.
Want to buy that beautiful dress you saw the other day?
Don’t just go and buy yourself that dress, but treat it as an incentive which you can receive, only when you stick to your plan.
This gives an extra push and another reason to stay motivated.
7. BE PATIENT
Last but not the least…. Stay calm and patient.
Developing a habit is a process which requires dedication and time.
You are trying to add something new to your life. Things won’t happen overnight.
Be patient and try it for a minimum of 21 days.
Keep yourself motivated. Think about why you started a new habit in the first place, whenever you feel like quitting.
Have faith in yourself and do not lose hope.
The only way you can fail is when you stop trying.
It is possible that a plan which worked for someone else might not work for you.
Instead of giving up, roll up your sleeves and try again.
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