As humans, we are creatures of habit. Our day-to-day lives are often repetitive and rely on routine, but how can you introduce new, healthy habits (and be sure you stick to them?)
What Makes Something A Habit?
A habit and a routine are not quite the same, and they’re easily mistaken for each other.
A habit relies on the action requiring little or no thought – it’s something that we
automatically do. Routines tend to be less comfortable and require real thought and dedication. So, it’s no real surprise that many of us want to discard some of our routines and unhealthy habits and replace them with habits that are good for our bodies and minds.
Studies suggest that around half of our daily habits are driven by repetition, so what does it take to swap out an old bad habit for a new healthy one?
Become Motivated To Stick To a Habit
A large part of developing a new habit is finding the motivation to make that change. There’s almost always a motivation for developing a new habit. It could offer a physical benefit, an emotional benefit, or even act as a stress relief to help balance out the rest of a hectic day.
Studies show that we are much more likely to do something if we write it down. This could mean adding your meditation time (meditation tips) to your daily calendar or leaving yourself a sticky note on the fridge reminding you to drink water rather than the soda that’s been calling your name.
These small changes can play a big part in keeping us on track and reminding us why we were aspiring to reach this goal in the first place.
How To Develop A New Habit
A common misconception is that if you do something every day for 21 days it becomes a habit. This isn’t necessarily true, but it might become easier.
In reality, many of us are actually seeking to become comfortable in a new routine. This could be regular exercise, dietary changes, daily meditation or other stress-relieving activities. The key is that we can comfortably do these activities to the point that we don’t even really consider not doing them.
Here are our top tips for developing a new habit.
Set yourself micro-goals. If your final goal is daily exercise, set small goals to help you achieve that – perhaps you take a class once a week. If your goal is meditation, your micro-goal could be to set up a calm space and get some aromatherapy oils to help you get in the zone.
Make a schedule. It’s much harder to make time for a new habit on a whim, pre planning can be key.
Understand there will be obstacles. No journey is ever easy. There will be days when you can’t do your new habit, don’t be too harsh on yourself.
Clearly outline what you want to achieve. Whatever habit you want to develop, be clear with it and make sure it’s realistic. Professional athletes won’t even be in a gym 7 days a week – don’t expect yourself to do it right off the bat!