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How to Make New Habits Stick

Most New Year’s resolutions involve changing something we don’t like about ourselves. Unfortunately, most of these resolutions end up not being achieved. But there are simple methods you can adopt which will help you to develop and stick to a new habit. Over time you will find it easier to integrate your new habits into your daily routine. Below are a few steps you can take to try and develop that new habit, and banish your old ones:

  • Make a Decision: Be clear about what you are trying to achieve and how you can do it. This will help your motivation. It might also help to make this decision with a partner. If your resolution is to get fit or drop a few pounds, the active step is to set your alarm clock for the same time each morning and adhere to it by getting up immediately. Learn to start your exercise session without snoozing the alarm or putting it off and going back to sleep.
  • Commit to a Short Period: Committing to a short period only requires a small amount of discipline. A period of four weeks is enough time to make a habit stick if you do not miss the routine during this time. When you make it through this initial phase, it is then easier to carry on and extend your commitment as your body has now adapted to this new routine. For example, eating fruit at night time rather than junk for a month will increase your cravings for fruit afterwards.
  • Make Close People Aware: It is amazing how much discipline and determination you can get when your family, friends and work colleagues are aware that you are trying to change your behaviour. When you realise that someone is watching you to see if you will have the strength and persistence to get through a new habit, it makes you more determined to achieve the set goal. For example, if you make it public that you want to quit smoking this New Year, it becomes difficult to light a cigarette if someone you know is watching.
  • Coffee habit
    Trying to cut down on your coffee intake? Replace your habit with green tea for a healthier option.

  • Start Simple: Never try to change your old habit completely in a day. Your body will most likely fight back. The fact is that when you start with small steps, you become accustomed to your new habit, and then over time you can increase the load. For example, if your aim is to run a marathon by the end of this year, start by running only 30 minutes a day and then build on that.
  • Replace Old Habits: It is a lot easier to develop a new habit by replacing it with an old one. This way, you do not feel like you are losing out on anything. For example, if you are trying to stop drinking coffee, you can replace it with green tea for a healthy alternative. Habits can be very fixed to your brain, so find a new behaviour that corresponds to the old habit.
  • Be Imperfect: In developing a new habit and sticking to it this New Year, there are likely to be a few bumps along the way. Although you are motivated, do not expect all your attempts to develop a new habit to be successful immediately. Sometimes it can take multiple attempts to get used to your new routine.
  • Reward Yourself: Learn to reward yourself each time you succeed in practicing a new behaviour. Each time you reward yourself, it strengthens you to keep up the good work and continue this new habit.

If you aim to develop a new habit or change an old one this New Year, the few steps listed above can help you overcome any bumps on the way to achieving your desired goal.