Habits are actions or behaviors that are part of our lifestyle and that we develop, without costing us much effort, because they are part of our routines. Of course, there are good ones and bad ones and surely on more than one occasion, you have thought about what you can do to create good habits, such as following a healthy diet, doing some exercise or spending more time reading. Changing your habits is always possible, although it requires some time and in this article, we detail how to create a habit and maintain it so that this good initial resolution really ends up being a habit.
What will you find in this article?
How to create a habit?
Wanting to do something, that is, being motivated enough, is the first step for that ‘something’ to reach the category of habit. Eat a lighter dinner to rest better or lose weight, go for a 30-minute walk every day, replace the elevator with the stairs whenever you can, eat fruit every day or take a relaxing bubble bath on Sundays to start the new life with energy.
Think about what you want to become a habit and list all the benefits you will achieve by introducing it into your life. Writing a list of the beneficial effects of your new habit is a great idea for you to keep handy and read in moments of discouragement or laziness, for example, at the thought of going for a walk.
Design an initial plan and make the necessary preparations
A good plan is one of the keys to creating a habit and keeping it. Set a start date by choosing the right time. For example, if you have decided to run every morning, it may be a good idea to start this habit on your next vacation, when you have more time and have more energy. In addition, continuing with the example, your motivation can be increased with the purchase of your first basic equipment for practicing sports.
Have everything ready and the appointed day begins! In your plan, mark the days of the week, the start time and the time you are going to dedicate to running. Remember that the habit is built little by little over time, so you should propose to follow the plan you have designed, without modifying it, for at least a month.
Set concrete, short and achievable goals
When designing your plan, be realistic and aware of both your possibilities and the very concept of habit, which will always involve repeating an action that may cost you a bit at first until you manage to do it effortlessly, routinely. and in most cases enjoying it.
It is a mistake to want to have a bike ride on weekends as a habit and pretend to travel 100 kilometers on the first Saturday. The secret to picking up a habit and keeping it is to go little by little, setting yourself small challenges that do not require extreme effort. A small goal achieved is the best incentive to continue until riding a bike, for example, becomes a habit that you even miss when that habit, for some reason, is altered.
Describe possible obstacles
Just as you made a list of the good things that the new habit will bring you, it is also a good idea to make another one with the possible obstacles that will encourage you to ‘throw in the towel.’ If you make your list of possible excuses: tiredness, temperatures that are too high or low, lack of time… you will know how to recognize them as such and you will be able to fight them to finally create a habit and stick with it.
However, you have to remain realistic and if you really are exhausted or the weather is very bad, when it comes to habits that involve going out of the house, you may have to adapt them see if it can be done inside the house or really postpone your practice tomorrow. If we push too hard when it really isn’t a good time, we can hurt ourselves or create a rejection of the habit we intend to create and maintain.
Be flexible and keep a positive attitude
This point is totally linked to the previous advice. It is normal that in the process of creating a new habit, there are moments of discouragement, so you must know how to combine a little demand (who wants something, something costs him) with the necessary flexibility. Even if you have prepared your perfect plan if one day you have not fulfilled it, nothing happens, continue taking the next step as soon as you can.
Measure your successes and reward yourself
For the habit to settle definitively as such, a little trick that can help is to treat yourself or reward yourself when you notice your own progress. For example, if you have decided to have the habit of eating salads and vegetables for dinner every night and you have been doing it for a week, varying your menu and choosing other healthy options one or two nights can be a small reward for your perseverance that, in addition, will make a return to your routine of eating only vegetables with more desire than ever (the habit is already being established as part of your habits).
Consider possible help
If your goal is to create a habit and keep it forever or as long as possible, integrate it into your life, some help may come in handy in some cases.
For example, if your habits are focused on sports activities, going to a gym or receiving advice from a personal trainer can be very effective. If your goal is to get into the habit of following a healthier diet, consulting with professionals, such as a dietitian, nutritionist, or endocrinologist, is also a great idea. Receiving some specific first classes of the activity that you want to make a habit or practice them as a couple, with friends or in a group (go for a run, walk daily, go swimming…) can be an extra stimulus that helps you create a habit and keep it.