You are a product of your habits: you know this, I know this, the whole world knows this. Your mental health, your physical health…I am telling you: your overall health relies on your habits. If you want to make true lifestyle changes, then you have to change the things you do every day. When creating a new habits, you will find that most of the struggle is simply that you just forget to do it. That’s because you haven’t set up a good habit loop yet! The habit loop goes like this: CUE –> ROUTINE (HABIT) –> REWARD –> REPEAT
The cue is the signal that tells you to start a certain habit. Example: get home from work.
The routine is the habit. Habits can be either good or bad or even neutral. Example: hang keys on hook beside door.
The reward is the feeling you get that encourages you to repeat the habit the next time you get that cue. Example: keys are easily located.
You can change or create ANY habit by modifying any part of the habit loop.
Here are our most effective & simple steps for starting a new habit that helps you achieve the life of your dreams!
- Start small! You shouldn’t try to tackle all your bad habits at once. It might be a better idea to reduce a habit than just go cold-turkey (depending on you and the habit, of course).
- Anchor the desired habit to an existing habit. Brush your teeth every day? Great! Now add meditation or deep breathing to that routine!
- Add the new task to your daily to-do list. Every single day, write it in. Then, not only will it start to be ingrained in your brain because you are writing it down every day, but when you look back over your daily tasks, you’ll be reminded to do it.
- Create a chain – use a calendar or an app like Habit Bull [link] to keep track of every day that you do your new habit. After a while you will have a chain that is long enough that you don’t want to break it!
- Get organized & set the habit up as a Goal in your Google calendar! Follow these steps to set your goal, how often you want to do it, what time of day you’ll do it, and get reminders! You even get the satisfaction of marking it done each time. [I love this tip the most!]
- Create a replacement habit for those bad habits you want to eliminate. For example, if you want to stop drinking, think of a productive task you will do every time you crave a drink…maybe going outside to pull weeds, or learning to knit, or carve a chess set out of wood. Instead of saying “don’t drink,” write, “pull weeds when I feel the need to drink.” Focus on the positive!
- Create an environment set up for your success: want to eat healthier? Get rid of the junk in your fridge, freezer and pantry. And I mean, TRASH IT. Don’t eat it. (Yes, I am on to you!) Buy the healthy stuff and keep it easy to reach: eye level, prepped and ready to consume. Want to move more? Park further away from your destination. Aim for a certain number of steps on your fitness tracker.
These tips are by no means exhaustive! Habit change takes effort and attention, but with a few changes to how you’re set up, you can create the habits that lead to the healthful life you want to live!
If you want another EXCELLENT resource for creating change through the power of habits, I highly recommend reading Atomic Habits by James Clear. I have read a lot of books on habits over the years, and this one is singularly the best I have read! Don’t have much time to read? Get the audiobook and listen to it while you drive or exercise or are preparing your healthy meals! <wink>