Tired of starting a new diet just to fall off it after a couple of weeks? Annoyed with the progress you’re making with your new hobby? Sick of starting to write a story only for it to be left unfinished? Us too! In today’s blog, we’re going to share some tips and tricks with you for making new habits stick.
Like many people around the world, we’re always keen to improve ourselves and take on new challenges but we often find ourselves falling at the first hurdle. We have good intentions but when it comes to actually converting those intentions into actions, we often find ourselves not meeting our goals, getting fed up with never achieving the targets we set and binning the whole thing off before descending into a shame spiral….
In 2021, we don’t want to feel like failures anymore and we certainly don’t want you to either! That’s why we’re determined to make progress with every project we undertake – be it personal or professional. We understand though, that if we’re really going to get things done and start making positive changes in our lives, then we need to change the way we think about our goals and our habits. We need to look at some ways we can make our new habits stick once and for all so that we can do our happy dance rather than sobbing into a tub of Haagen Dazs.
No one likes to set unrealistic goals, yet that is what we find ourselves doing time and time again. We go on unrealistic diets, cutting out anything remotely fattening so that we’re left with bowls of salad, starving our bodies of nutrients and our minds of energy. We plan to become smarter by signing up to some course that requires about 50 hours of work but there is no way to fit into our time without using up every weekend. We get overexcited by wanting to make positive changes and so we end up trying to change everything overnight, heaping pressure and unrealistic expectations on ourselves.
The key to make any new habit stick is to start small. It needs to be something so easy and quick to fit into your day, that you just can’t say no to it. By trying to do everything at once, we set ourselves up for failure. Yet if we start incorporating one small thing into our daily routine, we can set ourselves up for success from the get go. For instance, if you want to get fitter then start by adding 100 steps to your step count every day. If you want to improve your cooking, then read a recipe from your favourite chef every day and pick one to make at the weekend. If you want to read more books this year then start with one page per day. Start small because everything builds from there. As you become more confident, start looking at ways you can build on your habits and you’ll be on your way before you know it.
Be Consistent With Your New Habit
I don’t know about you but the word ‘commitment’ always puts me off doing something. In my mind it conjures up an image of a long slog up a mountain with a heavy backpack. It sounds hard, and life is already hard enough, right? It’s important when trying to form new habits to stay in the present and re-frame the commitment that you’re making to yourself. Visualise the outcome that you want and realise that you will get there one day at a time. The important thing is to maintain consistency. ‘Consistency’ is a far more pleasant word than ‘Commitment’. It feels far more achievable!
It can take an average of 66 days for a new behaviour to become automatic, and you need to be prepared in advance for all of the excuses you are going to use for why you can’t do it. Have a word with yourself. For instance, what gets in the way of you becoming fitter? Is it because you’re tired after a long day at work? How can you nip this excuse in the bud before it begins to flower? Is the answer to reassess your expectations for how quickly you want to get fit? Or is it to try and work your new exercise habit into a time of day where it is really achievable and enjoyable rather than something that is punishing? Going for a run at 5am every morning would put me off after day one!
Don’t Worry About Failure
There’s going to be the odd day where you just won’t be able to fit that new habit into your schedule or, for whatever reason, you just might not feel like it. It’s okay. We all have the occasional bad day. The important thing to do is brush yourself off and get back on the horse the very next day. If you want to be successful in achieving your goal, you have to take any setback on the chin and keep going.
Nobody is perfect and it’s hard to make changes in your life. If you need help and support then talk to your friends and loved ones. You may even be able to find a friend to join you in your goal or at least cheer you along. The important thing is that you try your best and don’t be afraid to get up again and carry on. A good rule of thumb is to never miss doing something twice in a row because that is when failure and old, bad habits start to creep back in.
Keep Track and Be Patient
My mum always says to me, ‘Rome wasn’t built in a day’. She’s quite right. No matter how frustrated you get with your progress, it’s important to realise that whatever progress you have made, it’s still a lot more than you were doing before! You’re working towards your goal rather than sitting on the couch dreaming about it. It’s important to remember that and to keep track of it.
Measuring your progress will help to keep you motivated and focused on your overall goal. Try keeping a journal or logging your progress in an app. It’s important for you to see the new habits you have formed in action so that you can realise the impact that taking small steps towards your goal will have on your life. Your goal is achievable and you can do it. Have patience with your progress, be consistent and the results will speak for themselves.
We hope that these tips will help you to start forming the new habits you need to reach your goals in life. Starting anything new is hard but with enough patience, some smart planning and some determination, we’re pretty sure that you can do whatever you set your mind to.