Proven Ways to Build a Habit that Actually Stick
It isn’t easy for most of us to build a habit. In fact, research has shown it takes about 21 days to form a habit. But, when you think about it, it takes a bit longer than that. Starting a journey in building a habit that sticks is a process, but there are tools for making it a bit easier.
Here are a few ways to build a habit that truly sticks.
1. Just a Little Bit at A Time
The key to building a new habit is by simply starting small. That is the key. Whatever our habits are, it’s important to create an easy habit that we can stick with. By doing so, you’ll be more likely to not feel discouraged and give up.
One example would be your wanting to start exercising regularly. In doing so you don’t want to do too much. I mean, who comes from not working out at all to working out 1 hour a day? Instead, try a few minutes of activity a day and allow for a gradual rise.
2. Be Specific
One reason most of us struggle to build a habit is that we are not specific enough about what it is we want to achieve. When you think about it, if you want to eat healthier, you just don’t talk about it. Instead, you set specific goals. For example, “I want five servings of fruit.” Speak on what you need.
3. Be Open to A Visual World
Visual cues can be an essential tool for building new habits. If you’re aiming to start drinking more water, try a water bottle on your desk. Better yet, carry a water bottle wherever you go. Seeing the water bottle will serve as a constant reminder of the goal at hand.
4. Form a Routine
You really want to build a habit that will stick? Try creating a new routine. When you do the same thing at the same time every day, it becomes more automatic. It’s far easier to push a car that’s rolling versus one that’s standing still.
5. Tracking Your Way to the Finish Line
Tracking the progress you make will be helpful in keeping you motivated toward reaching your goals. There are multiple ways one can track the progress one makes. Among many, one thing that works for me is keeping a journal. Seeing how far you’ve come is essential to where you’re going.
6. The Usage of Positive Reinforcement
Positive reinforcement is an additional way one can build a new habit. When you celebrate for staying the course, it reinforces the behavior, making it easier to move forward. For example, if you reward yourself for working out regularly with a massage, guess how much more likely you’ll be to go?
7. Keep Close to Those that Hold You Accountable
Having someone in your life to keep you on track can be a great way to build a habit. When you have someone outside of yourself that relies on you, it makes it harder for you to let them down. Therefore, doing things that contribute to a positive share will follow.
8. Make it Worth It
My uncle always told me, “Make it agreeable,” intertwining his English and French as he did so. He always encouraged me throughout my engineering degree. It was something I hold near and dear to me till today. Whatever I choose to do, I choose to make it enjoyable.
9. Show Yourself Some Grace
For you to build a new habit, you have to understand that it is truly a process. Nothing happens overnight. Therefore, it’s important that you allow yourself to slip up. Redirect your focus towards forward progress. Building a habit is a journey, so be patient and graceful towards yourself.
10. Prioritize What Matters
If you are truly looking to build a habit that sticks, you need to set your priorities straight. This means taking time for this new habit. This means taking the time to integrate it as part of your new routine. If you treat the habit as an afterthought it’s unlikely you’ll stick with it. Prioritize it as you should.
At the end of the day, building a new habit is not easy. I’d be lying if I painted that pretty picture for you. But as I mentioned before, starting small, being specific, and using visuals among other things goes a long way. It’s a process that will take time. A time that will be worth it in the end.