(This page contains affiliate links.Read my full disclosure.)
Let’s talk about creating new habits and routines. We all have times in our lives where we intentionally want to change our behavior for the better and create new habits for ourselves.
This could be getting in the habit of eating healthier and drinking more water. Or it could be moving more and taking the dog for a daily walk.
Or it could be work related, or spiritual, or there are so many areas in our lives that could be improved and made easier if we created new habits.
Getting into the habit of doing something is often easier said than done. We seem to acquire bad habits without any effort, but getting into a ‘good’ habit can be a little more challenging.
Let’s break it down into a three step process that makes it easy to follow until we’ve internalized the new behavior and made it a true habit: something we do automatically without having to think about, like brushing our teeth.
Decide What You Want To Do
The first step is to decide what you want that new habit to be. Be as specific as possible.
Don’t just tell yourself you want to exercise more. Instead say something like ‘I will go for a 30 minute walk every single day’.
Deciding what your new habit will be and committing to when and how you’re going to do it, is half the battle.
Remind Yourself To Get It Done
The next few days should be smooth sailing. You’re motivated and excited to get this done.
Sticking to your new habit isn’t an issue. But a few days in you’ll notice that it’s easy to slip back into old habits.
Maybe it’s raining and you don’t really want to go out and walk. Or maybe your day just gets away from you.
This is when it’s important to have a daily reminder. Set an alert on your phone or add the new habit to your daily to-do list for a while.
Make It Part Of Your Routine Until It Becomes A Habit
Which brings us to the last step. It takes some time before a new behavior becomes a true habit. Until then, a routine will work to your best advantage.
Even before the new behavior becomes automatic, a routine will help you get it done without having to spend a lot of willpower or relying on daily reminders.
Make that daily walk part of your after dinner routine, or change from grabbing a snack at the vending machine at work at 10:00 in the morning to packing a healthy snack.
What comes next
It takes you about 66 days to have something become a habit. So just because you’ve been at this for 15 days or 3 weeks doesn’t mean that you’re home free.
There are many books and blogs out there that tell you that you only need 15 days to 3 weeks for something to become a habit.
That may be true for something as easy as remembering to take your vitamins with your morning coffee/tea/smoothie.
But for something more difficult such as exercising, meditating, reading or just plain making it a habit to drink more water throughout your day, it takes more time and discipline to make those habits.
Track your progress. If you notice that a habits is becoming like second nature for you to do, or is becoming routine, then add something else to your list and again track that habit to see how long it takes for it to become routine.
As I mentioned some habits become routine quicker than others and only you will know when to add another habit to your routine.
Don’t rush adding too many habits or else you’ll run the risk of failing at one or all and that can only mean defeat and added stress to your life.
No one wants a habit or routine to feel forced or stressful.
Take your time and slowly but surely your habits will become routine.
Congratulations! Decide to create the new habit, practice the routine until it’s second nature and you’ll be well on your way to forming a new good habit.