With it being February, the month we all know and love where our New Year’s Resolutions go down the toilet, I got to thinking about habits. I’ve been struggling to keep up with some of my resolutions (doing a youtube workout 3-5x per week, cutting out candy, getting to 10,000 steps per day, every day) and it got me thinking…
Why does this always feel so hard?
Why do we always dread starting new habits and making these positive changes?
That’s because changing habits, at the root of it, is hard work. Really hard work. But you know what? You can totally do it. And here’s how.
START WITH CHANGING JUST ONE HABIT
Changing one habit is hard enough. You, the awesome over-achieving go-getter, like to try to change everything at once. We do call some of these things lifestyle changes, right?As you decide what habit to start to change first, make a list of all the habits you’ve successfully been able to change. This can be as simple as “make my bed every morning” or “make my lunch everyday.” These habits may seem small, but they’re actually HUGE when you think about it because they are habits you built, reinforced, and maintained. These successful habits will help give you the confidence to continue with your new habits, and allow you to keep your focus on just the one habit.
THINK ABOUT WHAT YOU’RE GIVING UP
We often don’t think about what we won’t be doing while we form this new habit. If you want to get up at 5:30am every morning, you won’t be sleeping in until 8. Is that extra blog post, workout time, or meditation worth missing a few hours of sleep? You have to want it and believe it’s worth it. If the new habit isn’t something you want to do or that you internalize, then you need to look at your motivations. As we talked about before, new habits are really hard by themselves, and if you’re trying to form a new habit for someone else or because it’s what you think you should be doing
MAKE IT EASY
Leo Babauta says “Make it so easy you can’t say no.” Willpower is like a muscle, it gets tired the more you use it. So the key is to make your habit so small you can get it done without any motivation. If you want to start doing lunges regularly, start with just 5-10 lunges per day. Then as you hit your target daily and get stronger, you can gradually bump that number up until it becomes a habit.
BE KIND TO YOURSELF
You are human, you make mistakes, and that’s ok. There are a lot of people that will be mean and hard on you in this world, so you should treat yourself nicely. Find where the error came from and correct that. If your goal is to get up earlier, what is holding you back? Are you not going to bed early enough?
I’ve been so hard on myself the past couple of months. If I slipped up in my eating, I would scold myself mentally for not wanting it bad enough. I would be so frustrated at my lack of willpower and determined to do better the next day, only to get off track a few days later.
Instead of reprimanding myself each time I failed, I could have changed my mindset – “you know what? It’s ok if you slip up. People do that all the time, and you’re no exception. You’ve hit this goal x amount of times in the past, and you’re going to continue to hit it. Today was hard, but you’ve got this tomorrow!”
PLAN FOR FAILURE
Failure will likely happen, and you shouldn’t be angry when it does. Failure will help you understand what your triggers are and give you the opportunity to look at your lifestyle and see what may be holding you back. Think about what you can do to prevent it? Don’t forget the tip above and be kind to yourself when failure happens. The worst thing you can do is beat yourself up for it.
I know it may seem like these tips over-simplify this concept, but we have a tendency to over-complicate things as humans. Just because something is simple doesn’t mean it’s easy. If you think about eating healthy, it’s actually really simple – don’t eat processed foods and stick mostly to fruits and vegetables. We all know eating healthy can be so much more difficult than that. Looking at things that can feel complicated and overwhelming in a very simple way can help you identify what’s going wrong and ignore the non-important pieces.
These tips have helped me a lot and I hope they can help you as well! What are some ways you have come to stick to new habits?
Thanks for stopping by!