How to Establish Good Habits
“First, forget inspiration. Habit is more dependable. Habit will sustain you whether you’re inspired or not.” – Octavia Butler
Habits can be good or bad, but we often only hear about how to break bad habits. What do you do if you want to establish good habits? Like going to the gym or eating healthy or getting up every morning at 6 a.m. in order to pack your lunch for work?
Then you need to work to establish good habits. And, while you would think that doing things that are good for you would be easy, it takes practice – and here are some tips to help.
- Start With Small Goals: You probably know exactly what good habit you want to put into practice, but why haven’t you? Perhaps, it’s too big. Perhaps, it’s a bit overwhelming. Perhaps, you need to set some smaller goals in order to reach that big one.
- For example, if you’d like to establish a habit of getting to the gym five days per week, start with something smaller. Why not aim for two days this week? After all, two days is better than none…and definitely gets you on track for five days.
- Make Your Goals SMART: Have you heard of the acronym SMART as it pertains to setting goals? It stands for:
- When your goals (big or small) have these attributes, you will find they are much easier to obtain.
- Look At the Time Commitment Needed: When it comes to establishing a good habit, look at the time commitment involved, and make sure you can make it work with your current schedule. Does getting up at 6 a.m. really work for you when you don’t go to bed until 2 a.m.? Does hitting the gym after work make sense when you have kids that need to get to sports practice or piano lessons?
- Figure Out Your Why: Habits are infinitely easier to establish when you know why you want to do them. Do you want to pack your lunch every day to save money for a trip? Do you want to hit the gym in order to shed 10 pounds? Know your why and your good habits will come easier.
- Tell People About the Habits You Are Trying to Establish: Just like people tell others when they’re trying to break a bad habit, do the same for your good habit. A little healthy peer pressure can do you good.
- Make a Commitment to Yourself: The most important, and perhaps the most difficult step in establishing good habits, is making a commitment to yourself – because it’s so easy to break. Think of that habit like an appointment – and don’t break it.
- Ask for Help: You might need some help with your good habit. For example, perhaps you want to go to the gym, but you’re not quite sure what to do when you get there. Why not take a few sessions with a personal trainer? Or ask your friend who practically lives at the gym to help you.
- Celebrate Your Victories: Whether it be a big victory or a small victory – celebrate! But celebrate in a way that won’t take away from the habit you’ve been working to establish.
- Keep Going: And then keep going! They say it takes, on average, 66 days for a habit to be established, so don’t give up – even when it seems hard. Soon what you want will be automatic – like all habits are – and you won’t even be thinking twice about it.
Are you ready to establish some good habits? Then these tips should definitely help!