Even if you are not a New Year’s resolution maker, it’s likely that at some point in your life you’ll want to adopt healthier or more productive habits. When you do want to make a change for the better, consider trying the following tips from lifehack.org to increase your chances of making your new good habits stick:
1. Identify the root of the resistance you may be feeling when adjusting to your new habit. If you are having trouble making a change to your routine last, take some time to journal how you feel about the new activity. This can lead you to uncover unconscious barriers that may be keeping you stuck and allow you to find ways around them. For example, if you find it hard to get out of bed and get to the gym, you may resent that you are losing extra rest time. If that is the case, consider going to bed a little earlier so you don’t shortchange yourself on sleep.
2. Try to change complementary habits at the same time. Many of our habits are intertwined, which means if you try to change one, you may be more effective if you also change a related behavior. For example, if you want to read more this year, you may want to reduce your TV-watching time to make room in your day for your new book-loving habit.
3. Monitor your progress. Tracking how successful you are at consistently practicing your new habits keeps you accountable and can also provide a visual reminder of your commitment. You can track the times that you reinforce your habit on a simple piece of paper, calendar or whiteboard. Or, you can use one of the many apps available for smartphones if you prefer to monitor your progress digitally.
4. Recruit cheerleaders. It can be very difficult to change deeply ingrained habits without a supportive environment, so don’t be shy about sharing your goals with friends, family and co-workers to keep you on track and encouraged. Plus, for habits that may impact other people (like you getting up early to go to the gym while your partner is tasked with getting kids off to school), having supportive cheerleaders is even more critical.
It can be very challenging to make new habits stick, but whether you attack your goals now or sometime in the future, keeping these simple tips in mind should make it a little easier. Also, be sure to share these tips if you know someone who could use a little encouragement while trying to achieve their own goals.