How to Make Good Habits Stick
We all know some people that just get so much done. And have you ever wondered how they do it? They are the kind of people that say they are going to do something, like exercise, run a marathon, eat healthily, or be more organized, and you know that they will go ahead and do exactly that; how do they do it? Do you find that when you set you decide that you want to do something similar, it is a completely different story? You might be someone that can stick to things for a little bit, but then, along the way, you stop doing a few things, get out of the habit, lose motivation, or just quit altogether. When that kind of thing starts to happen enough times, it can be easy to get quite frustrated and even discouraged, as you want to make changes but it just doesn’t seem to happen. But creating good habits that you can sustain, doesn’t have to be something that is hard, difficult or painful. In fact, it can be something that is simple, straightforward, and even fun.
So here are some of the ways that you can make your new habit changes last, and how you can help them to stick. Then you can be on your way to being happier and healthier.
When you get a plan in mind, it can be easy to go big. Weight loss goals? Then it can be easy to set yourself that ideal number that you want the scales to read; you want to create change and see results as quickly as possible. So that might mean going from exercising hardly ever, to being in the gym five or six times a week. The problem with this kind of thing is that it needs you to have a lot of willpower, and that can be hard to sustain. So when the willpower starts to fade, and it will when you’re going at it all-guns-blazing, then you will be very likely to quit.
The solution to this kind of problem is to make sure that you start small with your goals, so that it hardly requires you to even think about it, and as a result, will hardly need any willpower. For example:
- Instead of going straight to doing fifty sit-ups a day, when you haven’t been doing any before, start with something smaller like ten.
- Instead of going on a new or restrictive diet, you could just start by eating smaller portions or adding one extra fruit or vegetable into each meal.
- Quitting smoking is something that will be a great way to be healthier. But instead of quitting cold-turkey, how about learning how to use a vape pen instead? Then you can cut down, and be doing something less harmful, as you wean yourself off.
- Instead of going running for an hour, when you haven’t been running in years, start with half an hour of walking and running intervals.
When you focus on being able to establish the actual habit first, then it will make it easier to carry on, as things won’t have changed all that much. Make it become a natural choice for you and a natural part of your day.
If you’re serious about the new habit that you want to get into or are doing, then having a rough plan, like ‘get fit’ isn’t going to cut it; you need to be specific. There has been research that shows that you will be much more likely to follow through with something if you have decided beforehand what the specifics are around it. In the case of ‘getting fit,’ what does that look like to you? Does that literally mean improving your resting heart rate and recovery heart rate? Or do you want to be able to run a 5K in a certain time, or be able to bench-press a certain weight number? You have to be specific to see the change.
Celebrate Small Wins
If you are like most people, then you will be better at putting yourself for something that didn’t go well, then you would be at rewarding yourself when things go well and when you do well. For some reason, so many of us don’t seem to want to celebrate the good things we are doing, which is such a shame. But really, there is evidence out there that suggests that when we celebrate our progress, it is really crucial to help you keep motivated.