You've heard it before? It takes 21 days to form a habit. But have you ever got past the 21 day mark, breathed a sigh of relief and only a couple of weeks later, the habit you think you've embedded has lost it's sparkle.
That's pretty normal. You're normal and there is nothing wrong with you. But here a few things you can do to make that new habit stick.
1. Make the goal a priority.
Ask yourself, on a scale of 1 - 10. How much of a priority is the new habit in my life? I want you to think hard about this. If it's starting a new habit of going to the gym and someone offers you front row tickets to a band you like, which would you choose? I know which I would choose, but it's about understanding what the priorities are in your life? Is the gym a I 'should' do this positive habit? If the priority of this new habit is below a 7, then revisit it. It may just need a tweak to push it to a 7 or above.
Those who succeed at creating new long term habits, do because they make this a priority in their life.
2. Set a deadline
I know you've said you want to create a positive change in your life, which generally means long term, but the brain likes structure. And let's be honest, you're reading this post because you've struggled to make it stick, which may mean you have a conflicting core belief.
How does this feel? Say to yourself, I'm going to do this for 6 months (or whatever time frame works for you). It a way of tricking the brain to not feel overwhelmed by the new changes (which the ego doesn't like - change). It also allows you to decide at 6 months if you want to continue with the new habit or try something else.
3. Understand why you want to make this new change.
This is important on many levels. The first. Is this one of those should goals? I should get fitter. I should loose weight. These are like New Years Resolutions. They're out the door within the first month of you starting them, or maybe you get as far as buying the membership and not through the front door. Second. Why? This allows you to choose, when you get thrown off balance, it reminds you the reason you choose it and if it is an important why, then you'll continue.
4. Create structure
I mentioned earlier structure. This is structure for those early days. If you can prep new meals. Ensure that there are no easy excuses for you falling off the wagon. Put dates in the diary etc. When I started meditation, I realised that doing it in the morning before work was impossible. There was no way I would get out of bed 20 minutes early to meditate, no matter how much I wanted to. Sleep was a bigger priority. But I did work out a way to ensure I would do it everyday. I meditated as soon as I came through the door in the evening. No matter what time I came home, it was the first thing I did. The structure, helped make this a habit.
5. Be prepared for not always
Be ok with knowing that there will be days that it just doesn't happen the way you want. Be prepared for this, as best you can. If you can have a contingency, then do. If you know that you are going out for a dinner the night before and can't eat your usual new foods, make sure the next days breakfast and lunch are there, ready to go, so you don't find the excuse of I'll just do one more day and start again on the weekend (or Monday).
Now also think about anything that might stop you achieving this goal. I mentioned that sleep was a greater priority than meditation, so I worked out when was best for me to meditate to make it a long term goal. Is there anything that might be conflicting you here, or what might stop you from achieving your goal?
6. Don't listen to your mind
Sounds a bit silly. But your mind is going to be telling you to stop and say things like: There is no need to do this. You're not good enough. Pretty enough. You will never succeed.
Just bat these thoughts away. They aren't you. They are just the ego. That's its job, to keep you safe. And keep you safe, means keeping everything the same. I visualise batting the thoughts away in my head with a cricket bat, that way I don't give them any chance to stop me.
Visualise yourself living your life with your new habit. What are you doing? How do you feel? Allowing yourself to make change is by reprogramming your subconscious and visualising you and your new habit. This is fed into your subconscious. Emotion is a strong driver for change to stick. Do this everyday for at least the first week and then weekly after that. It doesn't have to be longer than 30 seconds, but make it as rich as possible
8. Be grateful
Bit of an odd one I know, but again. This is about allowing yourself to feel the change happening and the brain to get comfortable with this new habit. Take a minute once a week to review how you feel, what the positives are of this new habit. Write this down.
9. Go easy on yourself
The most important. There will be days that you fall off the wagon. Breathe. Don't beat yourself up. Instead, move on with grace and allow yourself to be human. It's how we rise after the fall. Your brain will want to grasp on to any negativity. The whole I told you so etc. I say something like this to myself: I allow myself continue tomorrow with my new habit. Use I allow or I give permission. Just say it in your head and breathe. You're doing great. Don't let anyone else tell you otherwise.
I'm Melanie. I'm a Life coach and run workshops. I'm a facilitator of change. And my job is to create a warm, friendly safe and fun space for you do the transforming that you want. I believe the more we understand ourselves, the less we judge ourselves and others. My way may not be yours, but that doesn't mean we can't learn from each other. I am also a writer and a speaker.
I love good food, great coffee, gin and spending time with my friends and family. I am not a native Londoner, but instead was born in the wilds of Australia. I believe in treating others with kindness, enjoying life and letting my soul sing and grow on the way.
Look out for workshop next year in a french winery, helping you create lasting change and sample some different tipples.
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