Habits really are the key to leading a successful life. Look at anyone who has reached a level of greatness and they will always attribute it to good habits. But how do we start new habits? Often we fall off track or fall short of reaching our goals. New habits can be so hard to start.
In this blog, we will cover how to plan new habits, tricks to making them stick and what to do if you fall off.
Planning out your Habits
Large goals can often be daunting. A great key to reaching a larger goal is by habitually working on smaller goals. A technique to planning large goals is setting "micro quotas" and "macro goals". Micro quotas are small deadlines in our goal, if we consistently meet them, eventually we will reach our larger goal. For example, if you want to lose 20 pounds, rather than focus on the 20 pounds, focus on prepping your meals each week. If you can stick to your meal prep, then eventually, your eating habits will take the 20 pounds off.
Another helpful tip is making your habits a daily focus. By doing something each day you can decrease the chance of falling off your habits.
Whatever your goals, write it down. They're not goals until they're written down.
If procrastination is your issue, try starting with a small habit. The key is to have a habit so easy to start you cannot say no. For example, if you goal is 20 pounds, we know dehydration will prevent weight loss. So adding a glass of water to every meal is something small and easy to do which will help you get to your goal. You can always increase your habits as you go i.e. add a salad to that glass of water. But the key is to get started.
It is important to not clog your goals with distractions. If your goal is weight loss, focus on weight loss. Too many times we see clients get distracted with other goals: "I want to lose weight and be able to do the splits". Try not to get too complex when setting out your goal. Remain focused on what is important to you so you can place all your energy and devotion there.
Use Your Current Habits
This is the most underestimated tool we see. You already have your own habits established, use these to your own advantage by adding on a little more to this habit. We call this behavior chains. Behavior chains are one behavior linked to another. For example, if you go shopping every Sunday, why not prep salads immediately after you get home. By linking behaviors to already established habits, you make it easier to introduce new habits.
Another way to chain behaviors is by using triggers. Triggers may not be a behavior but may just be stimulus in the environment. For example, some people will set their watch alarm to remind them to eat every 3 hours. IF and THEN. IF I walk through the door, THEN as soon as I set my stuff down, I'll go to the gym. Setting up triggers is another easy way to introduce good habits.
Side note: If you are trying to break a bad habit, often you can switch it out with good habits. For example, someone that is quitting smoking may chew gum every time they get a craving. Instead of having a glass of wine at night, try tea.
Sticking To It
Once you've made a habit building it is important to stick to it. There is a few points to mention here. First, avoid the "might as wells". "Might as wells" are when an unsuspected obstacle pops up, gives us a hard time and we throw our hands up in the air, "Might as well quit, this _______". Don't. There are a ton of reasons to justify giving up and just saying, "might as well". The difference between successful people and failures is the successful don't give up when it gets hard. Don't justify. Stick to it.
Social pressure can work in a good way here. By announcing your goals to your close ones, you will have your friends and family keeping you accountable to your goals.
Get a Buddy
We have all had workout buddies that kept us on track. The same can be with any goal: weightloss, work, marathon.
If you fall off your horse, get back on!!! Immediately! Often we slip and get off track. That's okay. Be patient with yourself. But, immediately get back onto track.
Habits are hard to start. But once started can greatly benefit our lives. Remember, we all fall down sometimes. Dust your knees off and put one foot in front of the other and move forward. Good luck!
Motivation gets you going and habit gets you there.