How to Create Empowering Habits That You Can Stick To

We’ve all been there. Dreaming of good habits we can get into every day, but within a couple of days, they become a distant memory. We only stuck to that morning Pilates workout for three days before getting distracted by life.

This is where it’s important to understand that it’s about learning how to build good habits, and not just about how quickly you introduce them. It’s about maintaining the habit, and eventually, it becomes something you just naturally do, without thinking about it

So the question is: how do we get there? How do we build good habits that stick?

You want that healthy lifestyle, that brilliant relationship, that get-up-and-go attitude, and you want them to fit into your life right now. The important factor to remember is to never give up, but it’s easier said than done.

Here are 7 tips on how to build empowering habits that will stick:

 

 

  1. Accept it’s a slow start

You have to ease your way into new habits. Your mind and body will never automatically adjust to something they’ve just been thrown into. It’s about slowly building something up, getting used to it, and then establishing the behaviour habit.

So to begin with, you need to learn how to establish the habit behaviour. You can do this by familiarising yourself with the new habit, and start slotting it into your routine. It’s about slow starts, so perhaps 3 out of 7 healthy breakfasts a week in the morning. 20 sit ups instead of 100. A full skincare regime before going to bed a couple of evenings a week. It’s about getting used to the new habit first before you push yourself into making it work.

The best way to think about this when introducing something new is ‘don’t overhaul it, introduce it’. It’s all about smaller actions that require less thought, which requires less effort.

 

  1. Set visual reminders

No one enjoys endless lists or pop up reminders on their phones. But a nice visual displayed on your fridge or bedroom wall can be a nice reminder of your habit.

Wall calendars or whiteboards are great for this because you can draw or write something it colours that alert you to the habit, without it appearing as something urgent. You may find you get satisfaction out of crossing something off, so make sure you head to your visual reminder and give it a big tick when the habit is done.

After a few days, you’ll be in a steady flow and may not even need the visual reminder to prompt you. Then, you just have to focus on continuing!

 

  1. Be precise about what you need to do

When we’re struggling with habits, we tend to be quite vague to ourselves. Statements such as ‘aim to consume around 1,200-1,600 calories a day, ‘try and write around 500 words of that new book’ or ‘aim for something like 50 sit-ups today’, will start appearing.

If you want to strictly make your habits part of your life, you have to be firm with yourself. Set the intention. As the advice above mentions, start off smaller if you don’t want to over face yourself. The best way to make sure a habit sticks is to clearly state when and where they will take place.

You can do this one way by linking your new habit with a ‘when’, like: “Before I go to bed tonight, I will make a healthy lunch for tomorrow.”

Another way is to schedule the time for it, almost like your habit is an appointment. If you’re trying to write a book, or you’re wanting to incorporate a fitness activity, schedule in time for ‘writing appointment’ or ‘fitness appointment’. This gives it that sense of urgency you might need.

 

  1. Always reward yourself!

No matter how slow it takes you to get there, always be proud of your achievements and reward yourself constantly. The more you are kind to yourself for your progress, the more you’ll want to keep impressing yourself.

Give yourself mini celebrations for your progress along the way, which is crucial for your motivation. Just make sure the rewards are too grand, naughty or expensive. They can be the smallest of joys, like treating yourself to a relaxing bath because you’ve earnt it, buying a delicious takeout lunch for your favourite café on a Friday, or opening that fancy bottle of red when the weekend arrives.

Identify the small things that make you feel good about yourself, and then no matter how small your progress, you’ll be much keener to stick to it.

 

  1. Identify obstacles and eliminate them

To make the habit process easier for yourself, you need to identify what might be slowing you down. For example, If one of your goals is to be healthier and eat better, then that fancy glass biscuit box on your kitchen side that lets you see through to the cookies is not a good idea! Instead, hide the jar and place a pretty fruit bowl in its place.

If you’re finding you’re not motivated working on your side business in your spare time, make sure you have an inspiring working area set up, that encourages you to go and work in it, not avoid it. It’s amazing how much you can achieve when you eliminate the daily obstacles.

 

  1. Friends and networks are important

When the right people know about your aims, you may find they can be extremely supportive.

This is because good habits are classed as behaviour traits, and the people you have around you on a daily basis can actually have a huge impact on your behaviour. Think about it. If you’re inspired by all your dreams and desires, but you’ve got a negative partner who couldn’t care less what you were working on, you’re more than likely to not push yourself either. However, if you have people around you that are equally as excited as you to meet your goals, you’ll find it’s more motivating to share your drive and ambition.

Assess who you are speaking to on a daily basis and ensure that they share the same mindset and zest for life that you do.

 

  1. Have a long-term plan

Some experts say that it takes 21 days to form a habit. Some say this is a myth, and there is no set time required to build a habit. Doing things too quickly and forcing them would mean that too short a timeframe just wouldn’t work, and technically, 21 days is only really three weeks.

Don’t worry about time scales. Just focus on you, your routine, and how you can keep introducing your habits and making a change. In your mind, keep thinking about the future., Keep picturing your future where you naturally do your workouts in the morning. Keep picturing less sugary binge eating in months to come. It’s about bigger goals and building a bigger picture. You want your habits to stick and work with you for the long-term, so don’t rush anything to try and make quick changes.

Overall, always keep in mind that every day that you action your habits, no matter how big or small your step was, you’re getting a little bit closer to your new habits being part of your life.

If you’re finding it hard to maintain good habits – which many people do during the first few weeks- try not to be too discouraged. Focus on your mindset, don’t put pressure on yourself, and follow the tips above as closely as possible.

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