At different points of our lives, we create bad habits and these are often hard to break. Whether it be going to bed too late, having alcohol every night or grabbing a pastry and coffee on your way to work every day. As we know some of these bad habits create a negative impact on our life. It can be really challenging to break these bad habits and to form new positive ones.
How long does it take to create a new habit? A new habit, no matter how small or large will take time, repetition and discipline to become routine. But when we develop these habits into our daily routine, it becomes second nature like brushing your teeth. It is important to set small positive realistic habits each day and build them to a point that you can sustain long term.
So how do we start to build a new habit?
- Start With A Small Realistic Habit – A lot of people struggle to build habits as they set a habit too large and unrealistic to start. Then they write it off as “I just need more motivation” or “I don’t have any willpower”. The key is setting a new habit that is easy enough, doesn’t need motivation to do it and it is realistic to you. For example, rather than starting with 50 push ups per day, start with 5; rather than trying to meditate for 10mins per day, start by with 1min; rather than cutting down from 7 nights of drinking to only 2 nights, just start with 6 nights.
- Make It Daily & Stay Consistent – Start small and gradually improve, and over time your willpower and motivation will increase. This will make it easier to stick to your habit in the long term. Remember consistency is key! The more consistent your habit the easier it will be to stick. If you want to start exercising, try going at the same time, to the same place for thirty days. When cues like time of day, place and circumstances are the same in each case it is easier to stick.
- When You Slip, Get Back On Track Quickly – Top performers make mistakes and get off track just like everyone else. The difference is that they get back on track as quickly as possible. Research has shown that missing your habit once, no matter when it occurs, has no measurable impact on your long-term progress. Don’t expect to fail, but do plan for failure. It is also a good idea to think about what will prevent your habit from not happening? What could get in the way or get you off track? And how can you work around these issues and get back on track? You just need to be consistent, not perfect!
- Be Patient! Stick to a pace you can sustain – Learning to be patient is key in developing habits, as well as staying consistent as mentioned above. Remember new habits should feel easy, especially in the beginning. It can take time, but worth it in the long term.
- What To Set? – Sometimes getting rid of a bad habit can be just as impactful as setting a brand-new positive habit. Think about what things are between you and achieving your goals, some of these will be negative habits that you need to break, some will be positive habits you need to create. Both are vitally important to your long-term success.
- One At A Time – It’s important to not overload yourself with too many new habits at once, no matter how small they might be. Start with locking in 1 or 2 new habits (or removing 1-2 negative habits) into your daily/weekly life before you start adding the next one. When you do your new habits without thinking about them that’s a great sign you are ready for next ones.
- Celebrate Your Success – Positive reinforcement of your wins is so important to your long-term success. Changing your habits, some of which you might have had for 5-20 years+, even if small, is hard and it’s important to remind yourself how far you have come and the positive impacts these changes have made in your life.
At Vision, focusing on developing small positive realistic habits of eating, exercise and mindset is our specialty. We know this is not only key to achieving your desired results, but maintaining those results for life!