Building a new habit can be a rather long process. The 21-day myth isn’t correct and you should know it will take closer to a couple months or longer. However, you don’t have to get down on yourself. Motivation throughout the process will be key. Here are five tips to help you remain motivated when you’re trying to build a new habit.
Focus on Small Victories
If you’re used to waking up around 10am and your goal is to start waking up at 5am, that’s a huge leap. However, when you are trying to form this new habit, you can focus on the small victories. Anytime you wake up before 10am, it’s progress in the right direction. Take the days you might not get up at 5am, but you get up before 10am as a small victory instead of a letdown.
Start Small and Work Your Way to the Bigger Habit
Sometimes, we struggle to stay motivated because we bite off more than we can chew. Using the waking up early example above, waking up 5 hours earlier is a huge leap. Instead of making this the initial habit, it might be better to start with waking up just one hour earlier. Then, when this becomes easier, go for another hour. Continue this pattern until your wake up time is 5am.
Starting with a smaller habit can help keep us motivated as it seems easier. You won’t have to flex as much of your willpower muscle and you certainly won’t have to do as much to stay motivated.
Focus on One Habit at a Time
Sometimes, new habits can lead to other habits, but it can be hard to make too much change at once. If you’re trying to wake up earlier, it may lead to more productivity, but if you expect both to become habits immediately, it might be a recipe for disaster.
Instead, focus on just the waking up early and let the productivity come later on. If you focus on both, you could wake up early (achieving one goal) and not get much done (failing at the other goal) and feel likely you’ve completely failed.
When you take on too many habits at once, you will likely fail. Trying to wake up earlier, increase productivity, change your diet, exercise more and read more all at the same time may put you in overload. Instead, choose one and when it becomes a habit, build on it with another habit you’d like to form.
Get Rid of Giving Up
It’s hard to stay motivated when developing a new habit. However, if you take giving up off the table and treat a bad day as a bad day, you’re more likely to succeed. Allow yourself a bad day as you are going to have them. Just don’t allow the day to get you into the “I give up” mode and lose the progress you have already made.
Remember, building a new habit is a journey not a sprint. It’s going to take plenty of time and you need to be patient if you want to remain motivated. When you set your goals to build a new habit too quickly, you’ll likely end up falling off the wagon before you’re there. Remain patient and think about the end result to help motivate you.
There are several ways to stay motivated when building a new habit. You want to make sure you use these tips and don’t try to do more than you can handle or you may not build any new habits.