If you’re like me, you’re always looking for ways to make developing a new habit easier. Trying to create better habits can be daunting for all of us. But most often, the biggest hurdles to overcome are the ones in our head. With the holidays coming up, I am ramping up my good habit routines. Rather than sit back and let holiday eating take its course, let me help you kickstart (or restart!) some new habits before things get out of control.
Actually, tiny. We often believe that the new habit is a lot harder to do than it really is. So let’s make it less mentally or physically taxing. Start off with the smallest action related to the habit you are trying to create. Once you’ve been able to consistently repeat this new habit for a week, add another small step.
- New habit: drink more water. Easy kickstart: Fill up a large pitcher with water and leave on the counter.
- New habit: start exercising more. Easy kickstart: Commit to doing a specific exercise every time you enter a room. For example, every time you enter the kitchen, do 10 squats.
- New habit: Eat smaller portions. Easy kickstart: Chew each bite of food a minimum of 20 times.
- New habit: Eat more veggies. Easy kickstart: Buy a container of pre-cut vegetables from the store.
- New habit: Start a daily meditation practice. Easy kickstart: Do a daily 30-second breathing exercise.
Focus on progress, not perfection.
Next, shift your thinking regarding your new habit to progress rather than perfection. If you can be little better today than you were yesterday, consider yourself successful! Indeed, my clients who achieved the greatest results weren’t always eating perfectly or exercising every day. However, they were still able to reach their goals. Once they realized that being less than perfect still yielded results, they were able to continue moving forward rather than falling back into their old habits.
Be curious when a new habit doesn’t stick.
If you did skip a day of spin class or eat an extra piece of cake or two, what should you do? The answer is: be curious. Like a scientist or designer, when an experiment gives undesirable results, it’s time to examine the underlying conditions and start making adjustments. Let’s say you dove into the bread basket while out to dinner the other night. Was it poor planning? A stressful personal interaction? A bad day at work? Too much wine? Fatigue from not sleeping well? Ask yourself lots of questions and once you’ve uncovered the answer, make a plan for addressing whatever that trigger was in the first place. Most importantly, just put it behind you as you make small adjustments or tweaks to your routine.
Do you have a habit-forming strategy that worked for you? Since we’re all different, finding what works for you can take some time. Your best tip may just help someone else! Use the comment section below and if you feel like you could use a little extra support in starting a new habit, I’m here to help!