4 Tips for Anyone Trying to Make New Habits Stick

girl raising her hand to the sky - make new habits stick

Some time ago I was reading Robin Sharma’s books, and I felt like I needed some change in my life. I then took up the habit of getting up early every day (around 5 am), to meditate, write, and exercise.

When I started this new habit, it felt amazing. I was proud of myself—I was doing it!

On top of the satisfaction, I really felt the benefit of being productive before everyone wakes up. It had a very positive effect on my life. I was upbeat, motivated, and I was doing things with a spring in my step.

It was amazing, for about two months. But then, normal life happened. I had been to bed later for some nights — parties with friends, watching a movie, etc — and tiredness, coupled with maybe the weariness of the new habits, quickly took over.

One morning, I did not jump out of bed and I was longing to roll over instead of starting my “productive morning.”

 

If you are a human being like me, I am sure you are very familiar with taking up new habits, only to give them up two or three weeks or months later.  We’ve all been there, right? Making promises to go to the gym three times a week, stop eating junk food, or stop drinking alcohol altogether?

We take up new habits, only to let them die away after a few weeks.

Have you noticed how different the feeling is between when you start and when you give up?

There’s indeed a very negative effect on your life, having a little voice in your head constantly reminding you that you have failed this or that.

You don’t have to beat yourself up for dropping new healthy habits. You’re not the only one out there; we’re all doing it (or not doing it). But don’t lose hope just yet!

I used to be very annoyed with myself when I stopped the new routine, as it gave me the feeling that my goal had not been achieved.

However, unless you are in a life-threatening situation and seriously need to change your lifestyle, I think that we need to take a different perspective on things.

Here are few practices that can help you sustain the habits you’ve been trying to cultivate – check them!

1. Don’t go wild with changes.

The most important part of building a new habit is setting attainable goals and staying consistent. It doesn’t matter how well you perform daily. Sustained effort is what makes the real difference.

For that reason, when you start a new habit it should be so easy that you can’t say no to it.

– Want to build an exercise habit? Pick some you can do even at home, for 7 minutes;
– 
Want to increase your vocabulary? Learn three words a day;
– Want to create a healthy eating habit? Limit eating jun, don’t cut it at once;
– Want to read a new book? Have a goal of 4 pages per day.

It doesn’t matter if you start small because there will be plenty of time to pick up the intensity later. In the end, it’s about starting somewhere. 🙂

2. Reflect on what you have learned or gained, even if the habit has stopped.

Part of the reason we give up is that we put ourselves under pressure to make things happen quickly. We try to make grand, sweeping changes in our lives and expecting overnight change.

If this doesn’t happen we soon become discouraged and quit. We lose sight of any and all progress we’ve made towards our goals.

Stop!

Stop and reflect back on how far you’ve come since you started the habit. Maybe you practiced eating healthy for 3 months and left. But in those 3 months, your body benefitted with it and so did your life.

Stopping doesn’t mean you have failed. You can always get back up and try again.

3. Develop a plan

Dan John, a popular strength and conditioning coach, often tells his athletes:You’re not good enough to be disappointed.”

The same is true when you build a new habit. What were you expecting? To succeed without failing from the very beginning? To be perfect even when people who have been doing this for years make mistakes on a regular basis?

Address the root cause of what’s stopping you. Once you understand it completely make a plan on how you’re going to overcome it.

Here are a few tips you can use:

– Set proper time limits;
– Forget about performance and focus on growing;
– Make this your new motto: “never miss twice.”

The “never miss twice” motto is quite useful when you actually practice it. Maybe you’ll miss one workout, but you’re not going to miss two in a row. Maybe you’ll eat an entire pizza, but follow it up with a healthy meal.

4. Reward yourself

If you really aren’t good at making it to the gym every time you really, really, really want to, you might have to bribe yourself.

Transfer 5 bucks to your savings or Paytm account every time you do what you were trying to do-  or just put money in a jar. You’re not making any money, but you’ll have some savings to reward yourself later on.

There are no tricks, hacks, or ninja secrets to making it work.

These practices are incredibly simple and that’s exactly why they’re so powerful. We can set some rules for us or have no rules at all. The choice is ours. But it’s so simple, that if we commit to it, we can make it happen.

Simple doesn’t mean easy, these practices still take work. And that’s a good thing, as our goals will be all the sweeter if we’ve applied ourselves along the way.

Stay consistent and you may get surprised by where it takes you. 🙂

Let us know in the comments section below how your new habits are coming along for you.

To read next: 4 Time Management tips to boost your productivity.


Written by

Studying bachelor’s in biotechnology, Aayushi is a really passionate person, who loves to read and travel. She believes people, places, and stories have the power to change anyone and help them understand the purpose of life.

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