Creating good habits isn’t just for the New Year’s Resolution season! We’re a little over halfway through 2023, and if you’ve gotten off track with the habits you intended to stick to at the beginning of this year, there’s no time like the present to jump back in or create new ones!
Wondering where to begin? We’ve got you covered with tips to help you not only create habits, but continue them through those first few uncomfy days and beyond. But before we get into it, here’s our biggest piece of advice: Don’t give up. With consistent effort, the habits that once seemed impossible to stay on top of will feel easier with time.
Figure out where you're going.
Let’s say you have a goal of being an Olympic athlete. As much as we all wish we could wake up randomly one morning and run in under 10 seconds or perform a nearly perfect rhythmic gymnastics routine (#same), it doesn’t work like that. The truth most Olympic athletes spent years perfecting consistent daily habits that propelled them to their goals. Read about some of them, here!
Our goals give our habits purpose. Once you know what you’re working for, you’ll have a better idea of the daily habits that align with where you want to be AND you’ll be more motivated to keep them. (Need a little help with goal setting? We’ve got a post for that!)
We’re willing to bet that you’re a go-getter (you’re sitting here reading a blog about building habits, after all). So, after reading the section above about goals, you’ve probably set some pretty lofty ones for yourself, right? Maybe all this talk about Olympic athletes inspired you to sign up for a marathon. While that’s a great goal, the reality is, you’re probably not going to get out there on day one of training and run all 26.2 miles straight.
No matter what you’re setting out to achieve, the key to staying on track with any goal is to start small when implementing habits … like . So small, you might even feel like you’re not progressing! Running a marathon might mean running just 1 mile on your first training day (or going for a ½ mile walk out your front door). Once that feels good, maybe you up it to a couple rounds around the block, then you hit your first mile at a slow jog! Going full force straight out of the gate will only lead to eventual burnout. Allowing room for gradual progress is the best way to keep going.
Carve out time in your day for your habits—just like you make time for your appointments, meetings, and errands. If you’re implementing a reading habit, write it down in your planner or set a reminder on your phone. This will make you far less likely to forget to read each day and may even help give your motivation a boost.
Try habit stacking.
All the cool kids are doing it these days! “Habit stacking” means stacking a new habit on top of an existing one. For example, if you already listen to podcasts when you wake up, but you also want to start making your bed each morning, try doing these two things at the same time.
Why does it work? Science tells us that humans crave and act according to our routines, so when you’re habit stacking, you’re creating new routines built on the ones you already have in place. Neat little way to trick your brain, isn’t it?
Bonus points for adding habits that have a natural reward associated. For example, you’re more likely to work out if you see your as a little treat. So, only take before you KNOW you’re going to do a workout—then your brain starts to associate working out as a positive way to get a little treat. Aside from the natural endorphins, of course!
Have fun with it.
The best thing you can do to ensure you stick to those shiny new habits of yours is make them fun! For example, if you’re trying to eat healthier, start by whipping up a few recipes that you actually enjoy. This concept isn’t crazy by any means, but we could all use a reminder that making progress and implementing habits shouldn’t be complete torture. Suddenly, it doesn’t feel like so much work after all when you learn to love the process.
Take our tips, implement them into your own routine, and find what works for you. Most importantly, never underestimate those small positive daily habits—if you stick to them consistently, they really do have the power to impact every area of your life for the better.
What habits are you implementing into your routine? What’s your plan for sticking to them? Share with us in the comments below!