Eating more veggies. Quitting smoking. Reading more books. Our habits make us who we are. But how can we switch our habits to be our best? It does take some work, but here are 4 easy ways to begin changing your habits for the better.
One habit at a time
It’s tempting to want to overhaul your entire life in one night. But you have a higher chance of success if you focus on one goal at a time.
Why? It’s all linked to something called ‘ego depletion’, which is related to the limited amount of energy you have each day to spend on willpower. Yes, it’s exhausting changing habits! And you only have so much energy each day to devote to forming new behaviours.
So, just stay focused on one habit at a time.
Break your habit down
Let’s say you want to start running regularly. Chances are, you won’t be able to start out running 10kms in record time (although if you do, you’re a super human!) You probably won’t feel very motivated to stick to your new habit if you set such an ambitious target, either.
When it comes to forming new habits, smaller is always better. Begin with just a 5 minute jog – or 1km. Each day, build up little by little until your new behaviour really is a new habit – and one that sticks.
Plan your habit changes
A plan can help you prepare for changing a habit. Whether you use a specific habit app (there are some great ones available), or use a journal or calendar, be sure to carefully write down your goal, why you want to change, and how you’ll do it.
It’s also a good idea to write down your triggers and challenges. What makes it harder to stick to your new habit? What temptations might you face – and how can you avoid them? You can also add in rewards for reaching different milestones.
Do a habit challenge
Many experts say 30 days is the length of time it takes to change our behaviour. So why not do a 30-day habit changing challenge? Again, you can find apps to help with this. Science says 66 days (no, not 21!) is the amount of time it takes to overhaul behaviours, but 30 days is a more manageable amount of time to strive towards.
For more help, ask a life coach or counsellor.