10 Simple Steps to Make Your New Habit Stick

habits

You decide to try something new–running two miles every morning, an all-vegan diet, or filing every email as it comes in.

Fast forward to two weeks later, and your air-tight resolution is a thing of the past. Why  is it so hard to stick to things that we think we’ve put our minds to? Contrary to popular belief, it takes an average of 66 days for a new behavior to become automatic.

That’s more than two months! We all know how much can happen in that time to derail even the best laid plans. Make your resolution a permanent one by following these 1o simple steps to set yourself up for success from Gaiam Life.

 

1. Have a firm belief

 

Determination concept

You need to have a firm belief, without any doubt in the achievement and success of your desires. These beliefs need to be like unquestioned commands. They’ll shape every thought, feeling and action you’ll take. Within the strength of these beliefs lies the “core” to real and everlasting change.

 

2. Your belief needs to be under control

Set goal

If not, no matter what you decide to change, you’ll never have the conviction to achieve your goals or the desire to truly change.

 

3. Create a strategy

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Choose several steps you can take each day that will assist you on your journey toward the new you, to make this new pattern ingrained into your subconscious mind and ultimately create new habits. For example, if you are trying to start a new workout routine, your steps might include:

  • Setting the alarm clock 45 minutes early
  • Have workout clothes laid out the night before, for easy accessibility
  • Take the dog on your walk; you’ll get companionship and the dog will benefit from the exercise, too.
  • Have a healthy lunch prepared the night before.
  • Stock your fridge with healthy snacks that you can grab quickly when you’re hungry.
  • Plan all of your meals in advance.
  • Schedule exercise, meals, and other healthy activities into your calendar

 

5. Be very specific

photodune-4007941-to-do-list-m

 

Write down a date when you’ll start this new strategy and how often you’ll do it. Choose the route you’ll take in the neighborhood or which gym you’ll visit. State exactly in the present tense what you’re doing, as in, “I’m walking three miles today and will do so on Monday, Wednesday and Friday each week.” This is much better than simply saying, “I will exercise each week.” Being specific implies a commitment to your goal.

 

6. Make a commitment to start

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Think about what’s at stake and focus again on the list you made, thinking about how it’ll feel and what benefits you’ll receive when you incorporate this strategic change into your life. We’ve all had the experience of wanting to start an exercise program “next week”; when next week comes and goes, we just put things off, and it never happens. Make the commitment to begin — and follow through.

 

7. Thank yourself for participation

Love yourself

It’s OK to be grateful to yourself; this is a wonderful affirmation. Hearing the words “thank you” relaxes the muscles and deepens the resolve. If someone, anyone, thanks you for something, it naturally makes you feel good. You want to keep doing it to get that praise again, so praise yourself. Soon others will see the positive changes in your life and praise you, too.

 

8. Notice when you don’t follow through

young woman looking into a mirror

Ask yourself why, but be careful not to beat yourself up over a lapse. Do you need to alter the motivation or the steps to your new strategy? Was there something that created some doubt in your mind? If so, change it back. The results you get are the product of your thinking, so if you continue to be disappointed at what you achieve, you must be willing to ask yourself some hard questions and change your beliefs.

 

9. Use your affirmations.

Meditation

Often people will take the affirmations they’ve created and make an audio recording of them that can be played back each morning as they exercise. This is a great way to start the day on a positive and upbeat note while encouraging yourself to commit to your new habit.

 

10. Journal your progress

Teen Girl in Park

This is very important. Journaling is a way to keep track of how far you’ve come and how much you’ve accomplished, which can sometimes be difficult for you to remember. Journaling can be as simple as a brief paragraph noting what days you performed a certain habit or task and what the outcome was. You can also use a journal to record specifics of your diet and exercise regime as well as how you’re feeling as a whole and any emotional events that are occurring. It’s important to do this daily. The more specific you are with your journaling, the better reference tool it will become.