4 Steps to Start A Good Habit

This is the time of year many of us start to think about curbing bad habits and start a good habit.  After all, we just inhaled about 1000 cookies and consumed 20 meals per day over the holidays. It’s time to fit into our jeans again.  Just me?  

My instinct is to fruit basket upset my life.  I am going to eat better, drink better, get more sleep and work-out more.  However, knowing that only 8% of lofty new year’s resolutions are achieved, I am instead choosing to start and maintain one good habit to start my year off right.  

 

Why should we start a good habit?

Not only can we improve our lives by implementing habits.  Habits are defined as a routine or activity that is performed regularly and often automatically freeing up time and space.  I don’t know anyone who doesn’t want more free time and space.

 

 

So, what are the steps to start a good habit?

1. Reflect 

Is there an area of your life that needs some tweaking?  Is there a part of your day that always goes wonky?  What do you want to do more of?  

This is where new years’ resolutions get wonky because we tend to be too lofty.  I want to be kinder, I want to eat healthier, I want to lose more weight, I want to read more.  However, we need to stop and ask ourselves, what does that look like in my life? What would it look like to get in the habit of doing that thing I want to do? 

 

2. Pick One Small Activity to Implement as a Habit

Remember, one rock makes a bigger splash than a bunch of tiny pebbles.  Focus on one thing at a time.  If you want to get more healthy, what is one small area you can do that will propel you forward?  How about drinking 64 oz of water a day?  Make it attainable in your everyday life since this is something you want to make a reality for the long haul.

 

3.  Set Yourself Up for Success

How can you proactively set yourself up for success?  This is a step people often skip right over when they choose a habit.  

 
Think About Structure

This is the lynchpin of habits. People who struggle to maintain habits are not bad at keeping habits, they just don’t have a system in place to support them.  So, if you want to drink more water – put your water glass out on the counter to fill in the morning and keep it with you throughout the day.  What structures are you going to put in place to help you be successful?

 

 
Set the Intention by Writing It Down

Write it down.  “I will drink 64 oz of water every day in January.”  Studies show that people who write down their goals are 2-3x more likely to do it (source).  You might think I am silly but when I start a new habit or want to get into an old habit again, I put it on my daily to-do list. I like crossing things off that list.  Write it on a sticky note and put it where you perform that habit.  Write down what you want to achieve!  

If you want to form a family habit you have to communicate what you expect and even model the behavior you desire.  You can’t expect your kids or husband to just magically get it.  

 
Invite Accountability. 

I don’t know about you but when I tell someone I am going to do something, I am way more likely to do it.  A few months ago, I decided to train for a 5K, I was scared out of my mind because I had never done it before but I told my social media tribe I was doing it.   I wanted to quit but I trained and ran that 5K.  Studies show people that you have a higher chance of meeting your goal if you are accountable to someone (source).  Be accountable to someone.

 

4.  Repeat & Be Patient

This is a new skill.  The more you repeat that skill, the more automatic it becomes.  Research says it takes between 18-268 days to form a new habit.  

It takes time for babies to learn how to walk and they fall down.  They get back up and when you fall, you need to get back up too!   Don’t quit too soon.  You will see results it just takes time and patience.  

That’s why it’s important to pick a habit that you know is going to benefit you, you are more likely to hop back on when you have fallen off the proverbial horse.

 

So, what good habit are you going to start?

Remember, these steps to start a habit.  Stop and reflect on your current life.  What is a habit that will propel you forward?  Remember, to be specific and keep it small so you can maintain it.  Then, set up structures to help you be successful including writing it down and inviting accountability.  If you stumble, don’t quit.  Little by little progress does add up and good habits will lead you where you want to go.  

 

You Might Also Like – 

7 Habits to Create a Purposeful Morning Routine & 3 Habits to Stop Now

10 Simple Habits That Will Improve Your Life Now

10 Simple Habits That Will Improve Your Life Now

7 Simple Steps to Create a Weekly Meal Plan

 

Until next time keep on keeping on with a simple purposeful life!

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