1. Start small:
Keep the habit super small. When you make it as small as possible, it becomes your new “normal” because you can begin integrating it into your life gradually. Just start walking to uni a little faster, getting off the bus a stop earlier, or waking up five minutes before your usual alarm. Making little changes will make it fit into your life more naturally, and much more easily.
2. Commit big:
Once you decide on a habit, let’s say having a daily run, commit to it. When we start new habits, it’s easy to find yourself hit with procrastination and not being able to resist distractions. Just get started, that’s the essential skill you need to practice. You don’t need to run for 30 minutes every single day right now, first you just need to run. Then, adjust gradually with your ideal goal in mind.
3. Have a trigger:
There are thousands of things we do daily — waking up, going to bed, showering, brushing teeth, eating breakfast, etc. Committing to doing your habit as soon as the trigger happens means that it will start finding a place for itself in your daily routine and makes it more likely that you will do it. For example, say to yourself that once you finish your breakfast, then you will be going out for a jog.
4. Set up accountability:
Once you’ve committed to a new habit, ask a family member or friend to check in on you regularly (parents love this one!) Let them know of your commitment and ask for their help to keep you on track. Perhaps you could make a pact to begin a new habit, so that you are both aware of what the other person should be doing as their commitment. If you do miss a day or slip up a little, letting them know and getting them to check up on you will get you back on track.
5. Remove choices:
Any distractions or temptations you usually go for instead of this habit should be removed from the picture. For example, if you need to get some writing done, set up an Internet blocker to go off during your writing time. Remove any tempting food from the house if that’s distracting you from eating a healthier diet, and stop buying it in the weekly shop so that you don’t give yourself that option. Meet a friend at the park or gym to work out, so you won’t be tempted to bail.
6. Watch your negative thoughts:
We make a lot of excuses for the things that take more work to do. Practice the act of battling the negative thoughts by exchanging them for positive ones. And see that they’re wrong. Add a “But” to the sentence: “I deserve a break, BUT I also deserve to take care of my body with this exercise.” Why not go on a Pinterest spree and stick up some motivational quotes around your bed so that the first thing you see waking up and going to sleep are positive affirmations of why you should continue with your habit?
If you dedicate yourself to this system, doing one habit at a time but really putting every ounce of your focus and energy into it, you’ll be much more likely to stick to it.