How To Form a Good Habit That Will Last: 12-Step Guide
In today’s article you’ll learn everything you need to know about how to form good habits.
Are you ready to change old habits and develop new, more positive ones? Developing more positive behaviors can help you improve your overall health or achieve big goals.
To develop new habits, identify your motivations, develop guidelines, and measure your progress. If you want to kick a bad habit, remember that you may need to take several actions before trying to replace it with a new, positive habit.
How to Form Good Habits
1. Define your goal.
Before you start working on a new habit, it can be helpful to consider your goals. Define precisely what you want to attain. To maximize your chances of success, ensure your goals are precise, measurable, action-oriented, realistic and time-bound (SMART). Think about what you want to attain and be as specific as possible. Here are some questions to get you started.
The term “specific” refers to goals that are focused, not broad and/or vague. What do you want to attain and why?
Measurable goals are goals that can be measured (measured by numbers). What numbers are related to your goals? How can it be expressed with numbers?
The term “action-oriented” refers to goals that you can actively pursue and influence. What tasks do you need to do to attain your goals? How often do you need to do it?
“Realistic” refers to goals that you can in fact achieve with the resources you have. Is your goal something you can achieve with your current abilities and resources? Why do you think so?
Time-bound goals have a beginning and an end, in addition to a deadline you will meet. When will you start working towards your goal? When do you need to reach your goal? What happens if the goal is reached? What happens if you fail?
2. Identify the habit you want to develop.
Having great habits that align with your goals can help you achieve them. Once you have identified your goals and worked out all the details to attain them, choose the habits that will help you achieve them. Think about your goals and think about what great habits can help you achieve them.
For example, if your goal is to lose 15 pounds in six weeks, you might decide to start running every day at 5:00 p.m.
3. Reflect on your motivation.
Once you have set your goals and the new habits you need to adopt to attain them, take some time to analyze your motivations. Your motivation is the reason you want to start a new behavior. It’s a good idea to take some time to analyze your motivation because it can determine the success or failure of making a new habit.
Consider the following questions: What are the possible benefits of forming this new habit? What are the benefits of this new habit for me?
Make a list of your motivations so you can refer to them when you need encouragement.
4. Start small.
Even if the new habit you want to develop is extremely important, start with small changes to increase your chances of success. If you make too many big changes, you may not be capable to keep up.
For example, if you want to give up fried, fatty and sugary foods, it may be difficult for you to do it all without delay. It’s better to start by eliminating one category at a time.
5. Give yourself time.
Developing new habits can take time. Some people can form a new habit in only a few weeks, while others take months. Keep in mind that it may take a while for new habits to become automatic as you try to form them. When developing a new habit, try to be gentle with yourself.
6. Anticipate setbacks.
When adopting a new habit, you’ll virtually absolutely encounter some challenges. Knowing that you’re going to encounter difficulties will help you overcome them and stick with your new habits. It’s also important to realize that making mistakes does not imply failing.
Don’t be discouraged if one day you forget to take an easy walk. Just admit you had a tough day and go for a run the next day.
7. Create a signal.
Signals can help you remember to practice a new behavior every day. The best opportunities are signaled with something that’s already part of our regular routine, like taking a morning shower or brewing coffee.
For example, if you want to cultivate the habit of flossing after every brushing, use brushing as a signal to floss. Brushing should be followed by flossing, and the activity should become natural over time.
If you are having trouble with the stimulus for a new habit you want, set an everyday alarm on your phone to remind you it is time to do it.
8. Change your environment.
Make changes in your environment (1) can increase your chances of accomplishing your goals. Consider how you can change your environment to make it easier for you to stick with your new habits. What modifications to your environment will make it easier for you to maintain good habits every day?
For example, if you want to start going to the gym every morning before work, you can make it easier by preparing your workout clothes the day before and stashing a gym bag by the door.
9. Practice mindfulness.
Some people have a hard time adopting new positive habits because they’re operating on autopilot and not thinking about what they’re doing. However, paying more attention to your actions can make it easier to create new, positive habits. Ask yourself questions about careless actions that stop you from forming good habits.
For example, consider what keeps you from going to the gym every morning (2). What’s your morning routine like? How do you spend your time when you do not go to the gym? Why are you wasting your time this way? How do you feel about it?
The next time you end up starting to operate on autopilot and slipping back into negative habits, analyze your actions and thoughts to help yourself get out of the no-mind loop.
10. Tell others about your new habit.
Sharing your goals with others can help you stay accountable to your new habits. Consider enlisting the help of a friend to help you stick with your new habit. Maybe one of your friends wants to start a healthy habit and you can help them do it.
Make sure that the person you ask to help you with your new habit will be capable to hold you accountable in some way. For example, you could offer your friend money and instruct him not to give it back to you until you have followed your good habit X times.
11. Watch your progress.
When things do not go according to plan, tracking your progress on creating a habit will help you stay motivated and develop a method. Use a notebook or an app on your phone to see how often you complete your good habits. You can even post about your success on social media (Facebook, Twitter, etc.). Publicizing your successes can help keep you motivated to maintain positive behavior.
12. Reward yourself for practicing healthy behaviors.
By rewarding yourself, you can keep yourself motivated to keep improving your good behavior. When you reach your goal, choose a reward for yourself. Simple things, like the gift of a new wardrobe after losing 10 pounds, will help keep you motivated to attain your goals.
Make sure the incentives you give yourself are healthy and affordable. When you reach your goal, be sure you reward yourself as soon as possible.
Thank you for reading this article on how to form good habits and I actually hope you take my advice into action.
I wish you good luck and that I hope that its content has been a good help to you.