Let’s talk about fresh starts and forming new habits. We all have times in our lives where we want to change our behavior for the better and create new habits for ourselves. This could be getting in the habit of eating healthier and drinking more water. Or it could be work related, or spiritual, or… There are so many areas in our lives that could be improved and made easier if we created new habits. For me, fall is the perfect time to start fresh, develop new habits and create new rituals. For you, maybe it’s the beginning of the year or on your birthday. It doesn’t matter when you like to make a fresh start, it only matters that you make one.
Getting into the habit of doing something is often easier said than done. We seem to acquire bad habits without any effort, but getting into a “good” habit can be a little more challenging.
Let’s break it down into a four step process that makes it easy to follow until we’ve internalized the new behavior and made it a true habit or ritual – something we do automatically, like brushing our teeth.
Decide What You Want To Do
The first step is to decide what you want that new habit to be. Be as specific as possible with this step. Don’t just tell yourself you want to exercise more. Instead, set an intention to go for a 30-minute walk, before dinner, every single day, rain or shine. Deciding what your new habit will be and committing to when and how you’re going to do it, is half the battle. One of my new habits is being in bed by 12:30am so I can get up a little earlier in the day. So far, it’s going well. Mostly.
Remind Yourself To Get It Done
Sticking to your new habit isn’t an issue in the first few days but you’ll probably notice that it’s easy to slip back into old habits fairly quickly.
Maybe it’s freezing cold and you don’t really want to go out and walk. Or maybe your day just gets away from you and you get caught up in a Real Housewives marathon. This is when it’s important to have a daily reminder. Set an alert on your phone or add the new habit to your daily to-do list for a while. I use a dual system of digital reminders and writing things on my daily/weekly task lists.
Hold Yourself Accountable
This is the tricky/fun part! When we don’t have anyone to answer to, it’s incredibly easy to let things slide. How will you be accountable to you? I recently started using a habit tracker that I keep in my Bullet Journal and it’s a fun way to track my progress on a number of things. The idea of the tracker is to allow me to see how I’m doing with a particular activity over time by coloring in a little square for each achievement. It’s really fun for me to see all the colored squares at the end of the week or month and I hate to see a blank space. The desire to not have blank spaces makes me more likely to get it done so I can get my colored square. It’s kind of like the gold star system one uses to motivate small children. Actually, it’s just like that. Don’t judge.
Another great way to hold yourself accountable to your new habits is to have an accountability partner. You can do daily or weekly check-ins with your partner so that each of you serves as motivation for the other. I’m much more likely to get something done if the alternative is telling my friend that I’m a hopeless slack ass who didn’t get off the sofa.
Identify ‘The Why’ of Your New Habits
Which brings us to the last step. Because it takes some time for a new behavior to truly take hold, it’s extremely useful to have a solid ‘why’ in place for your new habit. Why do you want to go for a daily walk? Sure you want to be healthier in general but why specifically? Do you need more energy to tackle your budding business? Are your kids running circles around you and you want to keep up with them? Can you use more stamina for adult play time? Make sure you have a handle on your truly personal reason for the new habit. That will help motivate you when even your reminders and accountability partner can’t convince you to stick to it.
Congratulations you habit maven! You’re well on your way to a brand new you with these easy tips for creating new habits and rituals. What would you like to add to your life this year? Let me know in the comments. Thanks for reading and remember to stay saucy my lovely!
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