Making positive changes in your life requires creating new habits. According to James Clear, 80% of the time you will fail to stick to your new habit. This is because our brains are wired to continue perpetuating our current habits. Starting new habits, requires breaking that wiring and creating new wiring.
The biggest mistake people make is trying to start too big and do too many things at once. That is going to require a lot of rewiring. Here are 5 tips to create new habits that stick and become too legit to quit!
1. Identify the pay value. Why do you want to start this new habit anyway? What is in it for you? It's going to require effort, focus, commitment, dedication. Make sure you really want it. Make a list of how you will benefit when you consistently create your new habit. How will your life improve because of it? The more details, the better. This helps create the drive to keep working on it.
2. Stack the new habit next to a current habit. Take a look at your current habit list. What are some things that you automatically do already that you don't have to remind yourself to do? You don't have to remind yourself because it is an ingrained habit. This habit can serve as a trigger to start your new habit. You need that cue to serve as a reminder to do your new habit.
3. Make it small. Slice it, dice it, pulverize it. Turn it into a tiny step. You've heard the phrase, "go big or go home". When it comes to habit if you go big, just forget it. The smaller the better when you start. To begin rewiring your brain, you just need to start doing your new habit for a short time. Even if it is just 2 - 5 minutes, it is enough to get your cue down and create the ritual. You gradually add time each day, approximately 1% and continue to enhance quality as you make the habit even more automated.
4. Give yourself a reward. To build desire to do your habit, you will want to make it rewarding. After you successfully complete your habit, find a simple, meaningful way to signal success. It doesn't have to be complicated, it just has to have impact for you. Maybe it is a break, a small snack or beverage. It could be a few minutes listening to your favorite song, reading a book, etc. As you continue to successfully do your habit daily, you may want to give yourself milestone rewards after 7 day streaks, 14 days, 1 month, etc.
5. Track it visibly. Your brain loves to check things off lists. When you do this, your brain releases dopamine which motivates you to want to do it again and continue your habit. By posting it visibly it serves as a reminder of your past successes and prompts you to continue with your habit "streak".
On January 1, 2021 I committed to daily journaling. Today marks my 124th day of consecutive journaling. I know this because I write the number on top of the page and circle it as a reminder that I want to see it continue going up. It all started with these 5 steps to turn something from a sporadic activity into a consistent ritual that I will never quit.
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