Forming healthy habits goes a long way when it comes to accomplishing all your goals and dreams. A habit is a pattern of behavior that can be consistently found when your lifestyle is examined. The tricky thing about habits is that they are extremely tough to start and break.
The key to being successful at all the things you plan to do is to form habits that move your closer to your objectives each day. People who are able to develop such habits tend to be very successful at anything they put their minds to.
Why Most People Fail At Developing Healthy Habits
It comes down to how our subconscious mind works. The idea of letting go of something forever can be quite frightening. The same goes for any activity we find unpleasant, even if we know it is good for us. It makes making the right changes seem impossible at times.
Let us use people who smoke cigarettes for an example. Many smokers have a difficult time giving up the habit since it requires them to committing to never having another smoke. They know smoking is bad for their health, they are probably spending way too much money supporting their habit, and many long-time smokers continue the habit even after they start developing health issues as a result of it. Most people who try to quit smoking cold turkey typically end up failing.
A better way to approach developing a new habit is by focusing on the trial run instead of committing to making a permanent change right away. In the case of a smoker, it could be something as little as not having a cigarette for the first few hours of each day.
Why 30 Days Is All You Need To Form New Habits
When developing a new habit, the most challenging part is typically the first week. Your impulses are a lot stronger during this period, and you are more likely to go back to your old ways as a result of it. Things become a little easier after the first week.
By focusing on only the first 30 days of forming a habit, the mind is tricked into doing something it finds unpleasant. By the time the month is over, you are closer to establishing a permanent habit and less likely to fall back to your old routine.
Forming A New Habit In 30 Days
Ready to start building habits that move you towards your goals? Here’s how to go about doing that:
1) Focus On A Single Habit
Trying to develop multiple new habits at once can quickly leave you dealing with ego depletion. This is a reduced ability to manage actions, feelings, and thoughts. It can hinder your ability to develop a new habit when your willpower is being spread across different areas of your life.
Focusing on developing a single habit allows you to channel all your willpower into it. This reduces the possibility of you getting burned out as a result of trying to form many new habits at once. Figure out which one of the habits you want to develop would benefit you the most and start working on it.
Make sure it is something you can do every day, something that will fit into your schedule and something you can do even when you are not motivated.
2) Commit To The Habit For At Least 30 Days
Once you have figured out which habit you want to develop, commit yourself to it for the next 30 days. Your entire life during this period should revolve around this habit. Try to schedule the task(s) as early as possible. This gives you a chance to still complete it if life throws an unforeseen obstacle your way.
For example, if your goal is to attend martial arts classes for the next 30 days, try to train as early as you can. That way, you don’t end up missing a class because some emergency came up.
3) Anchor The New Habit Down With An Established Habit
New habits should not be based on temporary bursts of motivation or some popular fad. It should be a change you want to make in your life because you recognize what you stand to gain from developing the new habit.
Making the new habit a permanent part of your life should be a gradual process. You should anchor it down to other habits you already have. This makes it easier to stick to it. For example, you can make a commitment to run a mile after getting back from work each day. Or go to a martial arts class after dropping off the kids.
4) Take Small Steps
Rome was not built in a day, and if they tried to do that, the city would likely never have been developed. Learn to cherish small victories when forming a new habit. Relying on motivation only is not always enough since that can dwindle over time.
Instead, form new habits by taking baby steps and not putting any unnecessary pressure on yourself. Set goals that you know you will be able to accomplish even on your worst days. You can always increase the commitment as you become more used to it.
5) Be Prepared For Obstacles
Some obstacles will inevitably pop up as you work on your new habit. Common reasons why people fail to stick to a new routine include:
- Bad weather
- Self-esteem issues
Prepare to deal with these obstacles to prevent them from blindsiding you. Come up with a backup plan in advance on ways to deal with anything that comes in the way of your new habit. Do bodyweight exercises at home if you can’t make it to the gym because of the weather or time constraints. Wake up 30 minutes earlier so you can work on your goal if you know you won’t have any time to spare during the day.
6) Track Your Progress And Reward Yourself
Meeting your goals gives you a release of feel-good hormones, so make sure you consistently track your progress. Make sure you give yourself a little treat for each milestone reached. For example, you can enjoy a bowl of your favorite ice cream after sticking to your diet for an entire week.
Keep doing all the six things listed above, and your new habit will be a regular part of your routine in 30 days.
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