It’s supposed to take at least 21 days for something new to become a habit. So, it’s no surprise that so many of us fail to keep up a new habit, even if to an outsider it looks like the easiest thing in the world.
Know Your “Why”
Knowing the reason, or reasons, why you chose this new habit can be a great motivator. Perhaps you joined the gym to lose a stone in weight and get back into your favourite dress. Perhaps you need to make 30 phone calls a day to achieve your sales target and keep the boss happy.
Knowing your “Why” is key to sticking to your new habit. Write it down. Pin it to your noticeboard. Tell your friends and colleagues. Make sure you’re accountable to someone or something and this is one technique which will help you stick to your habit.
Allow For “Bad Days”
It’s ok to have a “bad day” when starting your new habit. Perhaps you stayed late at work one evening and there wasn’t time to do your new habit, or perhaps the habit you were trying to create was to leave work on time. Perhaps a friend called round unexpectedly and you forgot about your new habit. Maybe it was something beyond your control. Or maybe it was a moment of weakness. Did you doubt yourself? Did you think it was impossible?
The trick is to be kind to yourself, to allow room for an “off day” or a “bad day”, but to make sure you put a limit to it. If you need to “try again tomorrow”, or if you have to “put it off until next week”, that’s ok. But in the morning, make sure you try again. Accept the “bad day” for what it was, just a “bad day” nothing more, nothing less.
Ignore The Naysayers
There’s nothing worse than someone sabotaging your efforts to stick to your new habit. Whether it’s a well-intentioned comment, a bit of jealous sarcasm, or out and out mischief, you need to rise above it. If you have created a habit to stop smoking, then someone offering you a cigarette could happen, especially if it was a shared habit in business or social time. It will take time for other people to adapt to the “new you”.
It’s important to concentrate in the moment where you could be drawn back into your old habit and to recognise those moments and adapt accordingly. If you’ve allocated Friday afternoon for admin and accounts, you need to stick to it for this to become a habit. It might be hard if everyone else is having a “poets” day or you are invited for an after-lunch drink.
Focus On The Outcome
In my experience, focussing on the outcome is the best way to stick to a new habit. I try and remember why I have formed the new habit. I allow for bad days and do my best to ignore the naysayers. It can be hard, but when I review the month, I look at what I’ve achieved, how the new habits have helped not just grow my business, but have made significant differences to other people’s businesses. For me, this is the perfect outcome.
When I can help you create new habits or uncover why you’re not sticking to your habits, please get in touch. I will chat with you and identify where things can be improved.
Accountability is a brilliant way to set up new habits, I worked with Julie who says
where I’m wasting time doing the things that aren’t going to get my closer to my goals
how to prioritise my self-care which means I have more energy to complete my tasks
taking time for mindfulness practices helps my motivation and keeps me engaged in my tasks
how to not give myself such a hard time when things don’t go to plan
how to break down tasks into easier steps to create momentum towards success”