A new year always means a whole new slew of resolutions and new habits. New habits are great and allow us to move closer to our goals by changing our behaviors. But how do you make those new habits stick? Follow these 6 great tips and discover how!
The first step to cultivating any new habits is being honest with yourself.
Sit down and assess your habits of the past. Did those habits stick? Or were they just temporary? Why are you starting a new habit? What do you hope to achieve with it.
The key step in forming a new habit is honestly assessing yourself and your needs and abilities. Address the root causes of your issues and what you need to fix them. Maybe that workout routine of yours didn’t stick because you’re not a morning person and just couldn’t get out of bed at 5:30 AM. Stop and assess why you couldn’t get up early. And be honest. Do you need to go to bed earlier? Do you need to manage your free time better?
Analyze your situation and understand what you are capable of doing – realistically. Setting goals or habits that are unrealistic only set you up for disappointment. Getting down to the root cause of your needs and your shortcomings will help make sure you are more successful in setting habits and goals. Don’t be afraid to really drill down and be brutally honest with yourself.
2. Complimentary Habits
Choose habits that are complimentary to one another. Habits that are naturally interlinked have a higher chance of being successful (cause, face it, we’re all a little lazy) and help bolster one another in many ways.
For example, if you want to start waking up earlier, try going to bed earlier. If you want more free-time in the evening, tack on a few extra minutes of cleaning time each day.
Try to think of your habits as a chain. Each one is linked to the other, and if one is too big or just doesn’t fit, then the chain cannot work. Don’t make things harder on yourself than they need to be. Pick habits that are easy to maintain alongside one another.
3. Make An Actual Plan
It’s not enough to just say “I will wake up earlier.” You really have to commit to your new habits. The best way to do that is by planning – down to the very last minute.
Having a schedule lets you know when you are on or off track. Each day, all you have to do is simply follow the guide you’ve made for yourself and keep a close eye on the time. This will help you identify whether you are taking more time than necessary, and will help you see how on or off track you are with your new habit.
Some habit timings are absolutely precious (like your sleep schedule), while others can be adjusted as needed. Having a plan and a schedule will help you do that.
I personally recommend using a planner, especially one with hourly breakdowns. Spend a few minutes each night running through the routine for the following day. Prioritize those tasks. Throughout the day, check the planner regularly to keep track of where you are. If you’re ahead or behind, adjust accordingly. At the end of the day, stop and assess. Adjust as needed.
As always, I recommend the Dailygreatness Journal as a place to start!
4. Try To Stay Ahead
There is little more motivating than being ahead of schedule.
Being not only on time, but ahead of time, really helps make you feel accomplished and can do a lot for your motivation and inspiration.
If a task is taking longer than you expected, make a decision. That decision can be:
- Hurry up and get it done on time.
- De-prioritize it and move on.
- Finish another task early and use borrowed time from that task to complete the over-time task.
Being decisive is important. If you don’t make a decision and let the task overflow, you risk throwing off your entire schedule and the other habits you set out to cultivate through the day. If you stay ahead of schedule, you’ll stay motivated and make those habits easier to maintain!
5. Keep A Record
Keep a record of your new habits and their success / failure.
Tracking holds you accountable and helps you adjust where needed. By tracking and assessing your progress on a regular basis, you can see what’s working and what isn’t quickly and easily.
6. Engage, Engage, Engage
Forming new habits can be a struggle. So why wouldn’t you use every resource around you?
Oddly enough, when people are trying to make new routines and habits, they often forget to tap into one of their strongest assets: friends and family.
Engagement with friends and family can really help you stay on track and motivated. You can ask them for help when you’re running behind on tasks, or you can just seek motivation from them when you’re really struggling or feeling unsuccessful. Some friends and family members might even join in on some of your habits, which makes the going that much easier!
Don’t be afraid to reach out for help and inspiration. We are social creatures that often need the support of those around us – and that’s nothing to be ashamed of.
Struggling alone with new habits isn’t healthy and doesn’t lead to success either. Look to those around you for the inspiration and advice you need to stay committed.