This quote by Aristotle is reassuring.
Because it confirms that achieving goals requires small manageable steps taken over time – instead of one big action.
This also requires us to slowly change our behaviour over long periods of time.
A strong habit isn’t something you can just build overnight.
We are creatures of habit. Habits make up 40% of our lifestyle and these are things we do every single day without thinking. It’s automatic.
The truth is, it’s easy to take small steps to change our lives.
Most of us know exactly what we need to do to change our lives but we don’t. The underlying reason why is fear and doubt.
Going from Knowledge to action isn’t as easy as it seems.
So what happens when we want to build a habit we’ve never done before?
There is the power within all of us to create long lasting habits. All it takes is time, patience and dedication.
It might be difficult to start but you’ll thank yourself later.
Here are some tips on how to build habits and stick with them..
1. Take small steps
Don’t overwhelm yourself at the start.
Throwing in all of your goals for the year and trying to work on all of them might seem really productive however this kind of pressure won’t help and is likely to throw you off altogether!
If your goal is to eat less junkfood, going cold turkey (in most cases) will almost always ensure you’ll revert back to eating crap.
Instead, cut out one or two junk meals throughout the day and slowly shift into eventually eating healthily.
Don’t force it either. The habit you are trying to build shouldn’t be something you ‘should do’ or ‘feel guilty’ about.
Pick a habit you actually want to stick to for you. That way you’ll automatically tap into the motivation you need to keep going.
Choosing something for the wrong reasons like ‘because someone else is doing it’, will again discourage you and the likelihood is you’ll fail.
There is a huge difference between wanting to form a habit because ‘you should’ or ‘because someone is doing it’, as opposed to wanting to form a habit because your life will change for the better.
Adding a level of positive emotion each time as you the behaviour will make it become automatic quite quickly.
If you make the emotion more intense, then the habit is likely to form quickly.
2. Act on it straight away
Don’t hesitate when you’re about to perform the action or behaviour.
The moment we start to think about all the reasons why we shouldn’t do it or how long it’s going to take or how hard it’s going to be – we have already switched off.
Procrastination is one habit, you DON’T you’ll want to eliminate.
Repeatedly practising procrastination will almost guarantee you’ll talk yourself out of doing anything. Therefore doing nothing.
Mel Robbins, famous motivational and keynote speaker, talks about the 5 second rule.
Her theory is we should all act on the ‘5 Second Rule’, whenever we feel ourselves hesitate.
Countdown from 5 to 1, then just do it (whatever needs to be done).
Mel theorizes, that if we are not able to act within that first 5 seconds, our brain automatically eliminates the idea completely.
We’ve already talked ourselves out of doing it!
We are not designed to do something that feels uncomfortable or difficult, so often we talk ourselves out of it.
When we hesitate, our brains do overtime pulling us away from the things we should be doing.
If you want to get things done, don’t wait until you feel like it, just do it.
3. Set yourself up for success
The next step in creating habits that stick is to make things easier for yourself.
Change your environment to suit the new habit you want to follow or lifestyle you want to lead. Remove any obstacles that will stop you sticking with the habit.
For example, if you are someone that struggles waking up early to go to the gym, do this:
- Set your alarm
- Make sure your alarm clock or phone are far away from you. Which means to turn it off you’ll need to get out of bed.
- The night before set out all of your gym clothes ready or wear them to bed
- Have your pre workout shake ready in the fridge the night before
Eating healthy the majority of the time boils down to meal prepping effectively and removing temptation.
As silly as it might sound, planning out each day before you arrive will set you up for success.
For habits you really want to build, these are the things you have to do.
4. Mindset first, Habit next..
If you’re looking to make a change, then stop worrying about quick results and start focusing on the feeling you want to feel when you change your behaviour.
How is being productive and getting work done going to make you feel? How is being healthy going to change your life.
Focus on getting to the feeling, not the reward. You’ll soon realise that the results aren’t far behind.
A great way of sticking with habits and forming them into your every day life is to make sure you have the right frame of mind.
A lot of this has to do with manifestation techniques but essentially you need to speak into existence the way you’re going to feel as if it’s already happened.
“It feels amazing that I get up every morning at 5am to go to the gym”.
Having this way of thinking and sending these positive signals out are only going to serve as extra motivation for forming the habit you want to form in the long run.
5. Get an Accountability buddy
The role of an accountability buddy, depending on your situation, can be an extremely important one.
This ‘buddy’ will hold you accountable for the goals you set yourself and want to accomplish.
Choose someone you know will hold you accountable, whether it’s a spouse or a stranger.
This chosen person will be extremely invested in seeing you accomplish that specific goal.
You could choose somebody that has similar goals in mind to make sure you share your failures and achievements together.
Sometimes you not only need someone to encourage you when you’re feeling low, but also somebody who’s going to tell you “this isn’t working, let’s focus on something else”.
Pick a buddy that you know you can be open and honest with.
Even if you are the most confident independent accomplished individual, having a buddy to pin all of your accountability on will make you feel invincible.
6. When you fall, do this..
This goes back to changing your mindset.
Rather than giving up every-time you fall off, take it as an opportunity to reflect and learn what hasn’t worked so you can get back on track.
You’re always going to have your ups and downs, it’s important to keep moving up.
Don’t be so hard on yourself. We only fail, when we stop trying.
Focus on the days you were able to get up and complete your habit, instead of the days you weren’t.
It’s about the bigger picture guys!
If you’re struggling with building habits and accomplishing your goals, start tracking your progress.
Sometimes having a visual representation of how well or badly your doing can encourage you to improve and keep going.
Use a habit tracker to do this, so at the end of each cycle you can see how far you’ve come.
Remember it’s going to take time, so do not get discouraged.
What happens from here is totally dependant on you.
Wrapping it up
When you make the conscious decision to change your habits, you automatically change your life.
Building habits is an acquired skill not something that is just handed to you.
Remember a common habit of all successful people is they do not have the habit of hesitating.
In all honestly, practise makes perfect. There is no magic formula!
Don’t spend your days thing about the stuff you need to do, just get up and do it.
I really hope this information was helpful to you, if you have any questions please comment below!
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