With everyone staying home during the pandemic, new habits were created, and let’s face it, some older good habits went away.
When stuck in an at-home routine, it can be difficult to start adding good habits back in your life, particularly when your favorite TV show is right at your fingertips all day.
However, with a few quick tips, you can make your new habits stick. Whether it’s working out more frequently, spending more time away from the computer, or eating a healthier diet, these tips are bound to bring you success.
1. Start simple
If your desired new habit is working out regularly, you’re not going to be able to go into the gym and automatically lift 200 pounds. It’s best to break your big goal into smaller, manageable goals.
For example, if you want to run a marathon, start training with a few miles a day a couple of days a week. As you get stronger, you can add more miles and more frequency in.
People who try to do too much too quickly when creating a habit — like those who try to quit smoking cold turkey — often ask too much of themselves, which destroys morale and ends the habit-forming process.
When creating a new habit or goal, think SMART: Specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound. This will help you focus on mastering the change in your life and build toward your overall goal.
Have patience and empathy for yourself. Start small and acknowledge the good you’re doing to reach your overall goal.
2. Commit to 30 days
One of the most important aspects of creating a new habit is creating a routine. Humans are, by nature, creatures of habit, but it takes time to form a new routine. No matter your goal, be sure to commit 30 days to it before letting yourself give up.
A task may seem daunting at first, but in just a few short weeks a new habit can become automatic. If you push through the initial conditioning phase, your routine becomes much easier to sustain.
Be sure to remove temptations for those first 30 days. They can be major detractors from your overall goal. For example, if your goal is to eat healthier, remove the junk food from your pantry, so you’re not tempted with a late-night snack. After 30 days of your new routine, you’ll find your cravings are lessened and in some cases, gone.
3. Focus on what you’re adding to your life
Forming new habits does not come easily for anyone because it often involves some sort of sacrifice, whether it be a little more of your time or a soda on the way home from work. But instead of focusing on what you’re giving up, you should instead train your brain to think about all the benefits you’re gaining.
Don’t think about the donut you could be having. Think about how energized and focused you feel after eating a healthy diet. Focusing on these seemingly small changes can help give you the momentum you need to keep going.
4. Know your excuses (and how to overcome them)
It’s easy to let a busy day distract you from your goals. Take time to reflect on what may be holding you back. Are you tired? Did you run out of time to pack your kid’s lunch and yours?
Consider what is keeping you from succeeding at forming a routine and how to solve the issue. Planning will help you stay ahead of your goals and allow you to follow through with your new routine.
For example, if you want to cut back on sugary drinks, find a replacement and keep it handy for when you feel cravings coming on. If you find it hard to make healthy lunch options during the week, carve out some time on Sunday to meal prep.
5. Take time to celebrate yourself
Creating a new habit is no small task. Take time to celebrate yourself and all the work you’ve been doing to create a better you.
A great way to do this is through progress tracking. You can track how many days you’ve stuck to your changes, log how many miles you’ve run, or even compare the nutritional value of your new food to your old. It will not only help keep you consistent but will also show you just how far you’ve come.
Also, remember to allow yourself some grace when the losses occur. Mistakes are bound to happen and dwelling on them can discourage you from your goal. Accept your mistake and find a way to do better next time.
So, next time you’re forming a new habit, try out these five tips. Remember, it takes time to form a healthy habit, but stick with it — you’ll be glad you did.