New habits always seem to feel like a good thing. However, they are only good if they actually stick. Getting everything to run on autopilot isn’t easy. After deciding which new habits you want to tackle, it’s necessary to figure out how to make them stick.
With the right amount of discipline and a few tips, you can make those new habits actually become habits. Here are 10 proven tips you can use to make your new positive habits stick.
Commit to 30 Days, and then Another 30
Many experts will try to convince you that a few weeks is enough time to put a habit on autopilot. However, you can practice something new for an entire month and still fall off the wagon on day 31…for good.
If you want to actually make a new positive habit stick, you need to commit to closer to 60 days. Start by committing to the first 30 days and when you reach day 30, recommit yourself to the habit for another 30 days. This will give you enough time to make the habit stick.
Don’t Take on Too Many Habits at Once
One of the biggest mistakes we make when trying to change our lives is taking on more than we can really handle. While it’s possible to create a few new, positive habits, if they don’t relate to each other, taking on too many new habits at once could cause burnout quickly.
Instead of trying to change your entire life in one fell swoop, take on just one or two habits at a time. The exception to this rule happens when one new habit will help to cause or form another new habit.
For example, if you set a new positive habit of getting to bed before 11pm and waking up before 6:30am, it makes sense to stack the habit of more productivity on top of both of these habits. Waking up earlier is one of the best steps you can take in becoming more productive, which means it will actually become a bi-product of your other two habits, in this scenario.
Identify and Use Triggers
Triggers are things that cause us to react in a certain way. Sometimes, trigger cause us to act in a way we don’t like, but they can also be a way of building positive habits and making them stick.
For example, if you always take a hot shower an hour before going to bed, it’s a trigger you can use to make going to bed earlier a new habit. We all have different triggers that tell our mind and body it’s time for something specific. The smell of brewing coffee in the morning, a certain type of music, taking a shower, etc. are all triggers you can use to make your new habits stick.
Use New Habits as Triggers
Once you’ve started to create a new habit, you can actually use it as a trigger for another habit. This is referred to as habit stacking and allows you to make positive habits stick.
If you’re new habit is to wake up, start the coffee and do 10 push-ups before you do anything else, you can use this to trigger another habit. Maybe starting the coffee has become the trigger for doing your 10 push-ups. After making the push-ups a new habit, you can use them to trigger something else, such as adding 10 sit ups or another related habit you would like to create.
Whenever you take on a new, positive habit, you will slip up. If you expect perfection, it can be very easy to give up on new habits at the first sign of adversity.
We all have bad days, but we cannot let the bad days define us. Instead, consider it a bad day and make the next day better. Getting back on track will allow you to re-establish the habit and move forward instead of giving up.
One of the major reasons some positive habits don’t stick is simple temptations that can be removed from your life. For example, if the new habit you’re trying to form is eating less junk food, simply remove junk food from your kitchen. If you don’t have it in your house, it will be much harder for you to be tempted than leaving the pantry fully stocked with bad foods.
Track your Progress
Habit tracking is a great visual aid to help you see your progress. There are several apps you can use or you can choose to simply use a calendar in your home. All you have to do is cross off or circle the days you performed the habit successfully. Then, you will be able to see a chain starting to form as you perform the new habit multiple days in a row.
Remind Yourself of the Benefits
One of the main reasons people give up on New Year’s resolutions and positive habits is they simply forget the benefits. When you remind yourself of the benefits you will gain by performing the new habit day in and day out until it becomes routine, it’s more likely it will stick. Imagine yourself enjoying the benefits of the habit and you’re more likely to remain motivated as you go through the beginning stages of making it stick.
Do it For You
Creating a new habit for someone else rarely works. However, when you do it for yourself and you understand why you’re doing it, there’s a better chance the habit will actually stick.
Schedule Your Habits
So many of us live such busy lives based on a calendar written out for us on a day-to-day basis. If something doesn’t make it onto our calendar or into our planner, the chances of it happening are slim to none. If you want to make a new, positive habit stick, schedule it into your day.
How often will you really remember to go the gym if you don’t block off time on your schedule? Do you really think you’ll start taking a healthier lunch to work if you don’t plan the time to prepare it? If you really want to make a habit stick, plan for it by adding it to your schedule.
Making positive habits stick isn’t always easy. However, when you create a plan and understand the full benefits the new habit will provide, it’s far more likely to stick.