Form a Habit in 4 Easy Steps
Whether you’ve got your sights set on a big resolution or want to implement a change mid-year, there are a few practices that can help you form a habit. First and foremost, know that you’re more likely to achieve your goal if you are truly passionate about it, so choose something that’s important to you!
Use these 4 easy tips to form a habit and reach your personal goal.
You’ve likely heard the statistic that only 8% of people reach their New Year’s weight loss goal… If you’d be more excited by gaining or losing a different habit than shedding a few pounds, set yourself up for success! Commit to making it happen this year, then build off that personal progress for your next goal.
1. See the big picture, but make smaller goals.
While daydreaming about your plentiful bank account may motivate you to stay positive about your savings goal, it won’t necessarily help you reach it. Studies show that abstract thinking can aid in developing discipline, but that intrinsic motivators — making our goals personal rather than setting up a punishment/reward system — can go a long way in forming habits that stick with us for life.
Ask yourself what you need to do daily in order to achieve your goal. Maybe it’s not buying a coffee every day in order to save a little extra cash. Whatever it is, wrap your mind around it, envision yourself doing it and go forth and conquer today.
2. Link your new habit to an existing one.
Trying to keep a cleaner house? Identify a habit you already have, such as changing your clothes when you get home from work, and add your new habit to it. Perhaps you change your clothes and then spend five minutes tidying up clutter that has accumulated on tables or counters. Connecting your desired habit to an existing action helps you remember to do it in instances when you might have forgotten.
3. Eliminate the need to make decisions.
The average person makes about 35,000 decisions a day. Making choices all the time depletes our mental energy, so set yourself up to make fewer decisions. For instance, this is why meal-prepping is so helpful in achieving a weight loss goal — you always know what’s for lunch! When you eliminate the need to spend mental energy on making small decisions, you free up space for cultivating your new habit.
4. Take note of the moments you want to give up.
Say you’re trying to cut soda, but you find yourself reaching for one every afternoon. What happened just before you had the urge to cave? Maybe you felt tired? Stressed? Identify these triggers and plan ahead to combat them — a healthy snack or stress ball are easy solutions!
That note about envisioning yourself doing whatever it is you need to do on a daily basis is also important here. Spend some time upfront brainstorming possible triggers that could stand in the way of your goal and make a plan so that you don’t encounter them. If you’ve decided to bring a bag of nuts to work to curb your afternoon slump, see yourself eating them and you’re more likely to do so in the moment.
Get out there and form a habit that’s important to you! And remember, it takes 21 days to change a habit and 66 days for it to become automatic. So, if you’re not seeing the results you want after making a commitment, stick with these tips and give yourself some time.