Do you still remember your New Years Resolutions? How many of them have you put into practice?
Let me guess: Little to none of them.
And you’re not alone.
Good habits seem to be very hard to form while bad habits just sneak up on us when we least expect them. That’s how it feels, at least
But, guess what? Good and bad habits actually form the same way.
As a Certified Fitness Coach and 100% Vegan, let me give you some tips on how to form habits.
Pull the trigger
Habits start with triggers.
You feel stressed out? You’ll feel compelled to smoke a cigarette. You’re about to go to bed? You’ll have to brush your teeth.
These are simple triggers that initiate reactions. And like these triggers, you also have to identify specific triggers that can help you build better habits.
Ask yourself: How are you reminded of the habit?
Build a checklist
Generate a trigger by creating a checklist. All you need is a blank paper, a pen and some duct tape. You duct tape the blank paper to an open spot in your home, like your fridge.
Then, write the name of the habit that you want to form on top of the checklist.
Put some small check boxes on the left side of the paper with your target dates. These dates should reflect the frequency of the habits you want to build. For example, if you want to go to the gym once or twice a week, you need to write down the dates of your planned workout days for the next two months. You should have a total of 18 dates for that. Every time you go to the gym on your specified dates, you check off the box.
Bonus Tip: Use your signature
An even better way to check off the habit is by using your signature. If you put your signature on the checkbox after finishing the habit, you’re telling yourself that you’ve done the work the right way. You’re using the self-serving bias to your advantage.
The self-serving bias means that you want to enhance your self-esteem and self-worth with your actions. The signature is a reflection of yourself.
Think of it this way:
You’re putting your signature on the stuff you agree with. You’re enhancing your self-worth by completely nailing the habit. Because of that, the habit is more likely to stick.
If your goal is to go to the gym four times a week, don’t start with that habit.
I know that you might be extremely motivated this very moment, but the key to long-term change in your habits is consistency.
Start with a 5-minute walk, two times a week. When you have low expectations, it dramatically increases your likelihood of forming a habit that will last long.
Because having time for a 5-minute walk every day is easy while 2 hours of exercise isn’t. You can eat one banana every day but you’ll find a full day of eating healthy harder.
Start with smaller goals as much as possible and it will make you less likely to procrastinate.
Starting small won’t only make habit formation easier; it can help you compensate on certain days, too.
What you will find, after a certain period of time, is that you’ll be able to easily go for a ten-minute walk, instead of the planned five-minute walk. You’ll be progressing in an easy, playful way and this will increase your motivation. Plus, it will make habit formation feel like something that you ‘want’ to do, instead of ‘needing’ to do.
See Also: Daily Habits That Will Improve Your Life
No need to feel sorry now. What are you waiting for? The year isn’t over yet. Take your New Year’s Resolutions out of your closet and start forming new habits the simple, fun and sustainable way.
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