Do you know how to build better habits?
Our brains are over 2 million years old (shocking I know!) and the one thing we can count on them absorbing is habits. We fall into habits for everything we do, and eventually, those habits become unconscious. So much so, that when we try to change something, we’re met with massive resistance because our egos won’t have any of it. Author James Clear wrote about it in great detail in his book Atomic Habits. He says that habits are built on frequency and repetition, not by us doing something for 21 or 30 days. I found this to be true with my fitness habit. I’ve gone for a run (almost) every morning for 20 minutes in the last 2 years. And there are still oftentimes when I just don’t want to. If I didn’t have Health & Well-being as a major priority for myself, I don’t know if I could show up every morning for that run. If you’re also struggling with this, here are 6 ways to build great habits.
1.Decide what you want
What’s the big picture? Do you have a relationship goal? A weight-loss goal? Or maybe you’re wanting to pay more attention to your mental and emotional well-being? You need an end goal in mind when building a new habit.
2. Decide WHY you want it
This is probably the most important step in the whole process. Why do you want this thing? Why do you want to build this habit? The answer needs to stir something deep inside of you. It needs to light you up and make you feel like you’re on fire for it. You have to find your “why” because you’re going to keep coming back to it when you want to throw in the towel.
3. Set a time frame for it
Robert Herjavac once said – A goal is a dream with a deadline. Timelines motivate you to work harder, they inspire you to achieve what you want faster and they get you excited about looking forward to accomplishing your dream. So buy that pretty dress you want to wear for your year-end function or book that holiday you want to go on.
4. Break it down into daily actions
This is another important part of building new habits. So many of us dive straight into the big stuff, then we crash and burn when we can’t sustain the new behavior. You don’t need to start going to the gym 3 x a week if you’ve not been for a year. Start with doing a stretch class at home in week one. That’s it.
5. Stack those small actions
When you’re comfortable with the stretch class at home, start going to the gym once a week. Then build it up to 3 x a week. Building a habit that’s sustainable for yourself should be the goal, and you do that by consistently showing up, and stacking your actions until you get to where you want to be.
6. Reward yourself
This is the best part of the process. Build in weekly or monthly rewards for yourself when you stick to your daily actions. Reward yourself often, it’s that much more exciting to get to the end!
Remember, habits are not a finish line to be cross, they’re a lifestyle to be lived. The more you repeat a behavior, the more you reinforce that identity. If you want change in your life, look at the habits that do not serve you and start to embody new habits that do serve you.
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