Building Good Habits That Stick
Creating new, healthy habits can be challenging. It takes dedication and the desire to change. But if you’re ready to commit, these tips will help you go from resistant to persistent.
Respect the Journey
Many habits can take weeks or even months of patience, devotion, and effort before they become an automatic part of a routine. You’ll likely experience some setbacks but try to remember that the process is a journey. Just don’t give up when setbacks occur.1
Start with small steps
Change doesn’t happen immediately, so be prepared to start small and focus on the present moment. Allow yourself to celebrate daily, or even hourly, as you make progress.
Create a road map
Keep a written, step-by-step guide to establishing your habit complete with small, obtainable goals and ways to celebrate your victories. If you get off course, make it a priority to get back to your guide.
Even the best plans may require some adjustments. If something’s not working, or you find your habit isn’t forming as you imagined, reevaluate the situation and identify what needs to change. Don’t be afraid to try a new approach. If you feel stuck, reach out to a friend or mentor who can help you get back on your feet.
Related: 5 Steps for Preventing Diabetes
Find someone who can hold you accountable
Studies show that you are 65% more likely to accomplish a goal if you commit to being accountable to someone. Choose a reliable, supportive person who has the same vision and respect for your new habit that you do.2
Keep your mindset in check
Everything you think and believe about forming your habit will influence your success or setbacks. Remember that positive thoughts can lead to positive actions. Believe in yourself and what you can accomplish. Practice positive self-talk and optimism, even if it’s challenging.
1 Dean, Signe. “Here's How Long It Really Takes to Break a Habit, According to Science.” ScienceAlert, 9 June 2018, www.sciencealert.com/how-long-it-takes-to-break-a-habit-according-to-science.
2 Oppong, Thomas. “This Is How to Increase The Odds of Reaching Your Goals by 95%.” Medium, Mission.org, 16 Jan. 2017, medium.com/the-mission/the-accountability-effect-a-simple-way-to-achieve-your-goals-and-boost-your-performance-8a07c76ef53a.