Livekick Team | Jan. 16, 2018
Today is as good a day as any to change the habits in your life. Maybe you want to eat better or exercise more often or maybe you want to swap hours of Netflix streaming for time spent learning a new skill. Habits are learned patterns or routines, whether we are conscious of these patterns or not. Making new habits takes time and attention and it's not always fun but a new habit, especially a healthy, empowering habit, is good trade off. Here are seven tips to help get your new habits started:
- Give it time. Research shows varying time for habit formation depending on the habit difficulty, anywhere from 21 and 66 days. Good habits don't come easy but don't let that dissuade you. They take concentrated effort and discipline but it can be done. Commiting to the initial conditioning phase is huge. The more times you get out of your warm bed and go to the gym in the morning, the more your body is conditioned for that process and the easier it is to do.
- Make it daily. Consistency is critical in making a habit stick. Activities done once every few days or every few weeks are hard to lock in as habits. It's like a muscle. The more repetition, the bigger and stronger the new habit connection in your brain will be. Try scheduling workouts at the same time on the same day each week. When cues like time of day, place, and circumstances are the same, it’s easier to stay on track.
- Start simple. If you’ve eaten meat your entire life and then one day wake up saying “I’m a vegetarian” and try to go cold turkey (or… cold tofu…), chances are you’ll slip. Don’t try to change your life in one day. It’s easy to get excited and over-motivated and overcorrect. Perhaps commit to eating meat three times a week to begin. Then cut out red meat. Then eat poultry only once a week and so on. Slower, less drastic change leads to better success.
- Ask for help. Find someone who has a similar goal and will create this new habit with you! Having an external motivator, or an accountability buddy, can make all the difference. Some people struggle getting to the gym on their own. However, if they pay for and schedule a training session, the money they shelled out and the waiting trainer is the extra push they need to stay accountable to their fitness goal.
- Find healthy replacements. If your new habit requires giving up something, make sure you are replacing the void. Instead of watching TV before bedtime, fill the time with reading or meditation. Cutting out an old habit without a replacement could be too extreme.
- Allow for slip-ups. You’re only human and you’re not perfect. Don’t expect all your attempts to change habits to be successful immediately. Try your best, but expect a few bumps along the way. If you’re trying to eat healthier but gorge on a huge dinner with friends, take a deep breath, remember not all is lost and get back on track again with your next meal. You’re only one choice away from continuing on that path you started. Don’t let one misstep completely derail your progress.
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