It can be easy to fall into a rut with your habits, especially bad ones. Many of us want to break free and form new, healthy and positive habits, but that can be challenging. Thankfully, there are things you can do to make eating better, exercising or waking up earlier each day easier, in order to improve your quality of life and increase your success at work.
New habits can be difficult to form at first, but if you use these tips to help you cement the habits in, you’ll find that they are much easier to maintain than form.
You may want to recreate your life through good habits, but you really need to be realistic with the process. For example, if you want to set a goal of getting up at 5 a.m. every morning, but you usually crawl out of bed around 11 a.m., you wouldn’t want to start on your first day by expecting your body to wake up before the sun does.
Instead, adjust your wakeup time by an hour or two at a time. Set an alarm for 9 a.m. and disable the snooze button. If this adjustment is difficult for you, give yourself a few days to get used to your new hours before adjusting the alarm to an earlier time.
No matter what habit you are trying to form, as long as you focus on the big picture while taking small steps toward it and don’t get ahead of yourself, you have a good chance of being successful.
Don’t Be Afraid to Fail
You may miss a day – or several – along the path to forming your new habit. That’s OK, don’t beat yourself up over it. After all, habits take an average of 66 days to form, with time varying by individual from 18 to 254 days. As long as you try your best to stick to your goals and don’t make it a habit of ignoring them, you’ll be fine.
Harry Truman said it best when he said, “imperfect action is better than perfect inaction.” In other words, just take action and start working toward your goals.
It’s also worth noting that even though it takes an average of 66 days for a new habit to form, it could take you much longer. Unfortunately, you may find that the habit didn’t stick on the first go-around. Try again if it’s something that’s really important to you.
If you have visual reminders of your goal, they will encourage you to continue working toward your new habit. Depending on your goal, you may need to set multiple daily reminders or just a reminder a couple of times week.
For example, if you want to drink more water, you might set alarms in your phone, put notes on your refrigerator, get a fancy water bottle or even download an app. All of these work to help you keep going when it gets tough and remind you when you forget.
You are more likely to succeed, and be able to track your progress along the way, if you are specific with your goals. Very specific. Don’t just set a goal of eating better, waking up earlier or working more.
Instead, quantify those goals. Eat a green vegetable every night at dinner, get up every morning at 6 a.m. or write a chapter of your new book each week.
When the week is over, you can look back at each day and see if you met your goal or not. Vague goals are hard to judge over the course of the week – you may have had a healthy salad on Tuesday, but your goal took a nosedive on Thursday when you indulged in doughnuts.
Be Clear on the Benefits
When you write down the new habit that you wish to start, take some time and write down the benefits that you expect to experience. This can be based on your own knowledge or research that you conduct to drive your progress.
For example, the new diet may help you focus more at work, give you more energy and make you feel better in general – all of which increases your quality of life. It also can improve your health.
Waking up earlier means you have time to start your day off how you’d like before work. The result? You go to work relaxed, focused and ready to take on the day.
Write down the main benefits that come to mind that will steer you toward your goal. These benefits should help you stay focused on the end result and your reasoning for going through the process of setting a new habit.
With all of these tips and a lot of commitment on your part, you could have your new habit all locked in in the next two or three months. What habit will you start with?