Are you looking to create a new healthy habit? It can take time and patience to introduce a it into our routine. Research has found that it takes most of us – on average – about 66 days to make a new behavior routine.
But, it won’t happen without work on our part! In this article, we offer you 4 tips to help you with the process of creating a new healthy habit.
1) Set up a reminder habit.
Take advantage of an existing habit, something you already do daily around the same time every day, and connect the new habit to this existing one. For example, you want to create a new daily habit of meditation. Rather than meditating at random times and possibly running out of time or forgetting altogether, pick an existing habit to serve as the trigger for your new habit.
An example of a reminder habit is: I will meditate after brushing my teeth in the bedroom around 6am. The new habit is set to occur after an existing habit which is done every day, around the same time.
2) Keep the new habit easy.
In other words, keep it small, keep it manageable. When we lower the difficulty level of a new habit, we increase our ability to perform the healthy habit and our chances of repeating it also increase. We know our motivation can be unreliable so by keeping the habit easy, we will be able to perform the task even when our motivation may be low.
Looking back to the meditation example above, it wouldn’t be wise to set an expectation of say 20 minutes of meditation as we try to create this new habit. Rather we want to set a smaller, easier goal. One that we can accomplish even if we’re not feeling highly motivated. A better choice may be: I will meditate for 5 minutes every day after brushing my teeth.
3) Design your environment for success.
Whatever your healthy habit may be, set yourself up for success. If you are trying to meditate, plan a reminder habit around a time when you know there will be peace and quiet and you won’t be disturbed.
If you are trying to create a habit of eating healthier, don’t bring the processed snack foods into the house. If you want to create a habit of working out early in the morning, lay your clothes out the night before.
The more you can do to design your environment to support the new habit, the more likely you are to succeed.
4) Use a reward system.
Each day as you adhere to your new healthy habit, use a reward system and celebrate your success. When we are rewarded it makes us feel good and that makes us want to repeat the action. Be careful with your reward system though and make sure it doesn’t sabotage your goals.
For example, if you are trying to eat more healthy to lose some of the Covid-19 pounds, don’t choose a cookie as your reward. Instead, maybe give yourself a dollar for each day you stuck to your eating plan. Or create a visual board where you mark off each day you completed the task successfully.
Or maybe you’re the tv binge watching type and you reward yourself with an extra episode of Cobra Kai.
Whatever you need to do to acknowledge your success, do it! You earned it.