Habits….they are so hard to break but maybe even harder to create! So you’ve decided that you want to run three times a week? Or maybe you’ve decided to become a vegetarian? Want to start reading more? Regardless of what this new habit is, it clearly means something to you and so you want to be able to stick with it.
Making a schedule is easy but sticking with it can be another story! It seems that most people start falling off the wagon by week 3 or 4. The first week is easy and fun. After all, you are focused and excited about your new goal! Second and third week can be a little tricky to maintain but you are still proud of your new path and willing to push to maintain it. However by the end of the third week or maybe the fourth week…..well life happens! Unexpected events and stress only need to take over one time for things to start falling apart. As soon as you skip that first workout or neglect to follow through on your new commitment, the door has opened to your habit breaking even before it has become a true habit.
So how to stay on track? Creating a habit is never easy but following these steps can definitely help. Try them today and make habits that you will never break!
By determining your goals, you can determine how often you need to do this new habit. Once this is done, write it down and share it! Nothing beats being accountable like writing down your plans and sharing them with your friends, family and co-workers. Aim for small changes each day that take you one step closer to your ultimate goal.
2. Set a time (or two…or three)
There are a few different types of personalities that come into play here. One set of people can set a time and stick to it easily, the others (like myself) need options! For us option folks, we need the flexibility to feel like the choice is always ours. As soon as we feel bound by a schedule, we revolt and find ways to break it. How to get around this little dilemma? Have a couple of options available and let yourself choose each day which time is best for you in that moment. For myself, sometimes I run first thing in the morning but on days when I just don’t feel like it or my work and family life interfere, I choose to run later in the day.
3. Remember why you started and create a ritual to honor it
There is a reason behind your running or workout goal. Weight loss? Better overall fitness and cardio? First time racer? Marathon goals? Running for charity? Whatever your reason is, it’s a good one because it’s what got you started! Create a daily ritual that helps you to remember your goal and focusing on it. Maybe that means taking a moment to meditate, look at a photo or video, write in a journal, countdown to a big event on your calendar or even take a short walk around the block to clear your head and think. Doesn’t matter what the routine is, it only matters that it takes you back to the place where you made the decision to start.
4. Reward yourself on a job well done
Everyone needs a reward! Whether we are teaching babies to walk and talk, young children to read and write or our new puppy to make his business outside, we always use rewards. Yet when we try to teach ourselves a new skill or habit, we seem to think we don’t need any positive reinforcement. This is a huge mistake! Everyone needs to feel that they have accomplished something that was worth working for. Small daily rewards after following through on your new habit are essential. Then when you have completed a week of sticking to your habit, reward yourself with something bigger. At the end of a month, go even BIGGER with your reward! Continue with the reward program for at least 2 or 3 months and soon you will notice that you don’t need the rewards as much, the habit will be ingrained in your lifestyle. That’s not to say stop all rewards but just that they won’t be as necessary to keep your new habit in check anymore.
Wishing everyone a wonderful week and many positive new habits!
What habits would you like to integrate into your life?
Any tried and true habit forming methods that work for you?
Share your thoughts below!