Breaking old habits, and creating new healthy habits isn’t an easily achievable task. But there are ways to increase your chances for success. Try using these tips, in the beginning, to help you internalize the new habit and don’t need them anymore.
1. Write it Down
Sometimes we’re so used to our regular routine that we go into auto-pilot and forget to do that new thing we were trying. We could forget that evening walk we were supposed to be taking or the meditation we wanted to do in the morning.
Scheduling your new habits, and making them part of your daily to-do list is helpful until they become something you do automatically.
I use a free app called Cozi to schedule my day and stay on top of new routines and habits.
2. Announce Your New Habit & Have Someone Hold You Accountable
Let your family or close friends about the new habits you’re establishing. Ask them to check in with you and call you out if you don’t stick to your plan and get you back on track.
When I was giving up refined sugar, each time I almost slipped up and cheated, my husband was in my ear reminding me of my goals and encouraging me to stick to my new habits.
You may even go as far as sharing it publicly on social media. Knowing that others know about the new habits you’re forming may keep you going when things get hard, and you want to quit.
3. Piggyback On A Habit You Already Have
Whenever possible, add the new habit to one you already have. For example, if you always grab a coffee at your favorite shop at 3 pm, and you want to get in the habit of taking a daily walk, make it a new pattern to walk to your coffee shop instead of driving. It’s much easier to alter an existing habit than it is to create an entirely new one.
If you’re trying something new that doesn’t piggyback on a current habit, plan to do the new ritual just before, or just after something else that you already do daily.
4. Make Slipups Costly
You’ve heard of a “swear jar,” right? Well, use that concept to help you stick to your new habits.
Put a jar on the kitchen counter, and every time you fall back into your bad habit or forget to stick to the new one, you have to put five dollars in the jar. It will help hold you accountable. You’ll skip that sugary food or feel more motivated to go out for that walk if it’s going to cost you money not to.
5. Find A Partner and Help Each Other Along
Find a friend with the same or similar goal. Your friend could be a workout partner or a diet buddy, or only someone you check in with daily to encourage one another.
Keep tabs on each other and support each other to keep going. It’s much harder to skip a walk if you know someone else is depending on you being there.
6. Create or Join a Group Challenge
Having a whole group to support you is even better than having a partner. And they ‘don’t even need to be local. You can find support groups online on Facebook, or create your own to challenge and motivate each other.
7. Work on One Habit at a Time
Trying to change too much at once is stressful, and overwhelming, and it will make you more likely to fail.
You may want to quit smoking, start eating healthy, exercise daily, and drink more water. But changing your entire life at once won’t work.
Focus on one healthy lifestyle change at a time. When you feel comfortable and natural with your new habit, start another one.