Creating healthy habits is part of developing a positive mindset.
We all have habits that we want to change or habits we want to create. Whether you are trying to break a habit or create a new one, there a number of strategies you can implement in order to find success.
As defined by Wikipedia, a habit is “a routine of behavior that is repeated regularly and tends to occur subconsciously.” Continuing on, The American Journal of Psychology defines a “habit, from the standpoint of psychology, [as] a more or less fixed way of thinking, willing, or feeling acquired through previous repetition of a mental experience.”
In order to change these habits or to create new healthy ones, below are seven effective strategies you can use today!
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#1: Know Your Why and Do It For Yourself
When you are trying to create a new habit, it is so important to know WHY you want to create it or change it.
Discovering your motivation for change and writing it down can be a powerful ally. When you are in the thick of it and want to quit or go back to your old way of doing things, knowing why you started in the first place can give you a reason to keep going.
Making a change for yourself, instead of trying to make someone else happy, is also an important part to creating last change. Make sure that you are creating the new habit because you truly want to, not because of the expectations of someone else.
It is difficult for you to have an emotional connection to your habit if you are not in the driver’s seat.
So, get crystal clear on why you want to create the habit and ensure you are doing it for your own happiness.
#2: Start Small and Simple
When you are first starting out on the journey to create new habits, don’t try to change everything at once. This is often why New Year’s Resolutions don’t work. People try to change their entire lifestyle all in one go, ending in frustration and usually giving up.
So for lasting success, start small and simple. Decide on one new habit you want to create. Determine why you want to make this change and then add the new habit into your life.
Starting small is a great strategy so that you do not end up feeling overwhelmed.
One small habit that sticks then lays the foundation for the next habit and so on. Pick something small and simple and implement that change into your life today, while following the remaining tips.
#3: Commit to 30 Days and Treat It As An Experiment
The third idea for creating new habits that stick it is commit to the new habit for 30 days and to treat it as an experiment.
When you make the decision to focus on your new habit for the next 30 days, you are allowing yourself a set window of time to create a new routine.
Habits can take anywhere from 18 days all the way to 254 days to truly stick, with the average for people being 66 days. This is a huge variety in the timeframe.
So, give yourself some grace and decide to commit for the next 30 days.
And have fun with it. Treat it as an experiment. Take the pressure off of yourself regarding the success or failure of the new habit and come at it from a perspective of fun and curiosity.
Can you make it for 30 days? What challenges will you come up against? How will you feel when you reach the 30th day?
Having a mindset of fun, exploration and curiosity will help you be more successful overall.
#4: Replace Your Lost Needs
When you breaking an old habit and replacing it with a new one, it is important to replace the lost need that the old habit provided.
For example, maybe you have a habit of watching TV after a long day as a way to relax. You want to break this habit of mindlessly watching TV. In order to set yourself up for success, you need to make sure that you replace the lost need of relaxation in a new way.
Figure out other activities that you can do that provide the same level of relaxation that watching TV does. Maybe it is sitting in silence and doing visualization. Maybe it is going for a slow walk in nature. Maybe it is playing with your animal companion.
Whatever you decide is up to you, as long as you have a strategy for relaxing at the end of your day in a healthier way will set you up for success. It will allow you to feel less resentment towards breaking the habit if you replace that need with something else.
#5: Remove Temptations
When creating a new healthier habit, removing temptations can be an excellent strategy for the first 30 days.
Whether there are triggers around you physically, socially, mentally, or emotionally, giving yourself grace by removing either yourself or the temptations can set you up for success in the long run.
Maybe you want to create a new habit of eating fruit and vegetables as a snack instead of chips and junk food. Cleaning out the kitchen cupboards and pantry to remove the junk food is a good strategy in the beginning. Asking your loved ones to be mindful of not eating junk food in front of you is another option. Staying away from places like fast-food restaurants or the candy aisle in the grocery store are also practical ways of removing temptation.
As you become stronger in your habit and more committed to your success, you can start to loosen your removal of these temptations. Set yourself up for success for creating a positive and supportive environment around you during your first 30 days.
Using visualization can be a powerful tool when creating new habits.
Visualization is the process whereby you create a movie in your mind using precise detail and all the sense, as you see yourself performing the action you are wanting to create.
Find a quiet place where you can be undisturbed and sit or lay comfortably. If you have a tendency to fall asleep when laying down, then sitting in a chair may be a better option for you.
Close your eyes and relax. Allow your body to become comfortable and bring your attention to your breath. Focus on your breath coming into your lungs, and then feel the breath leave your body on the exhale.
Once you have become relaxed, you can begin your visualization. Imagine in your mind’s eye a large movie screen. On the movie screen is you, in great detail. Envision yourself performing your habit. Be sure to include sight, sound, touch, taste, and smell.
Complete your visualization often to reinforce your new habit.
#7: Do It Daily and Consistently
Performing your new habit daily is a great way to anchor it into your life.
Even if your end goal is to go to the gym three times a week, creating a daily habit of moving your body for 30 minutes will be successful because it is a daily habit.
Once you can perform your habit daily and consistently, scaling back to your end goal will be more successful.
Daily habits create a routine for you and are easier to stick with overall.
So be consistent, do it daily and see the lasting success you want.
What’s Your Favourite?
I would love to hear which of these ideas is working best for you. And be sure to grab your free printable Habit Tracker to keep you inspired and accountable.
Leave me a comment below to share your ideas.
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