Embracing good habits is one of the best things you can do, but trying to make these habits stick turns out to be a real task at times.
“If you do what you’ve always done, you’ll get what you’ve always gotten. Tony Robbins”
Imagine this… It’s the beginning of the new year and you are ready to lose those 10 pounds you put on during holidays and maybe this is something you do each new year and you finally tell yourself “what’s the point, I can’t stick to it anyway”. Ugh, right!? Who can feel me on this?
Maybe you get to work a few minutes late every day and you want to work on being on time. Maybe you have attempted to quit smoking and seem to do great the first few weeks and then you catch yourself with friends, at a party, who offer you a smoke. Or, for some of you, it may come from a doctor who tells you that you need to let go of a nasty habit you have come to have a love/hate relationship with. What do you do? How you do make habits stick???
Here are some ways that may be helpful for you when it comes to learning how to make habits stick. We all know how difficult it can be. I’ve been there a million times myself. So here goes.
8 Tips That Will Help You Make Your Habits Stick
1. Identify Reasons For Prior Habits Not Sticking
Are you doing this for yourself or someone else? If you are stopping a habit for another person, chances are that you may not succeed as you are not truly vested in changing the habit for yourself. Also, pay attention to the reasons that you have not allowed a change to take place in the past.
Are you afraid of who you may become when you have succeeded? Are you afraid of success, failing? I see this with a lot of my clients in counseling and in hypnotherapy. I often hear, “I am afraid I won’t be the same person when I lose weight”. I also hear “people may not like me anymore” or “what do I do when I have succeeded?”. When you can identify the reasons for the self-sabotage you can work on it and then move forward.
2. Create One Or Two Goals
If you follow my articles you know that I am HUGE on creating one or two goals and then working on those. If you make a ton of goals for yourself, you will not stick to them. Instead, you will become overwhelmed and will not complete any of your goals only feeling like crap later. Then the guilt sets in for not having achieved your goal.
Let’s break this cycle. How? Create a list of all the goals you want to work on, pick the top one or two, and focus only on those. Once you have achieved those goals, THEN, choose another one or two goals. Start small. This will lead to bigger and better progress.
3. Focus On Today
When we finally pick a goal we want to work on we obsess over how that will look weeks ahead. We worry about how it will affect us at the next party, next vacation, or when we are around those that we used to partake in the nasty habit(s) with. STOP! You can only focus on today. Instead of focusing on how changing your habit will affect you weeks ahead, focus on today.
This is the only day you have control over. In other words, when you pick a goal(s), then work backward from there. What can you do each day to get to that ultimate goal? Focus on today as tomorrow is a different day and there is no need to live there yet. Living in the future will only cause more stress. Live for today. Ask yourself “what can I do today to reach my goal today”.
4. Release All Or Nothing Thinking/Be Compassionate
How many times have we all said “F*** it” when we started to work on a goal and then found ourselves taking a smoke, eating that piece of the pie, or checking your work email when you told yourself you wouldn’t. Just because you had an “oops” moment, it doesn’t mean you have to eat crappy for the rest of the day or continue to check the rest of your emails.
This is where you want to be compassionate with yourself. I’m pretty sure you wouldn’t tell a friend in the same situation that they blew it and should just continue with the habit. If a friend would not say that to you, or you to a friend, why would you say that to yourself? If they do say this to you, then you may want to re-look at that friendship, but that’s another story. Back to my original point – It’s perfectly okay to make a mistake, that is how we learn! Just get back up and move forward. You do have control over this.
5. Make It Fun And Reward Yourself
To break a bad habit, it’s helpful to reward yourself for engaging in positive behavior. Changing habits or working on new goals does not have to be boring. We make it boring. If you chose to give up nail-biting, get manicures to help with the nail-biting. This is a good “week-long” reward but it is two-fold – in this case, it is helping you stop the habit of nail-biting but also gives you a reward.