3 Steps to Creating New Habits. Let’s talk about forming new habits. 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. It could be working out more or taking the dog for a daily walk. It could be job related, or spiritually related, 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 an actual habit – something we do automatically without having to think about, like brushing our teeth.
First: Decide What New Habit You Want to Create
The first step is to decide what you want that new habit to be. Although this first step sounds easy, it’s crucial that you get it right. Be as specific as possible. Don’t just tell yourself you want to exercise more. A goal like that is too broad, and you’re setting yourself for failure.
Instead, say something like “I will go for a 30-minute walk every single day”. When you set specific goals, it’s easier to break them down into smaller, easily achievable pieces. If you can’t walk 30 minutes yet, you can make the target 15 minutes until you’re able to walk 30 minutes.
Deciding what your new habit will be committing to it and knowing when and how you’re going to do it, is half the battle.
Second: Remind Yourself To Get It Done
The next few days should be smooth sailing. Starting something new is fun, and you’re looking forward to the benefits of sticking to your new habit. You’re motivated and excited to get this done. Keeping your new habit isn’t an issue, at first. But a few days in you’ll notice that it’s easy to slip back into your old ways.
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. My favorite way to remind myself of something is to set up an alert on my phone. You could also add the new habit to your daily to-do list for a while.
Third: Make Your New Habit Part Of Your Routine Until It Becomes A Habit
This is the last step of my plan. It takes some time before a new behavior becomes a real 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. Follow this plan and soon you won’t even have to think about it.
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.
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 healthy habit.