Building habits is hard work. If it were easy, I wouldn’t be writing this article. In fact, human beings are hard-wired to perform actions in a repetitive way. Rinse, wash, repeat. The challenge is getting yourself to get rid of the bad habits and replace them with the healthy, life-affirming ones.
We’ve had a lot of experience in the field of habit building, so we’ve decided to share with you our 5 most effective habit building tips.
This comes as a surprise to most people – but just as important as adhering to your goals is rewarding yourself for your intention to do your best. That’s right – the reward comes whether or not you’ve successfully achieved your goal that week. That means that for every week you are setting out to build a habit, you should also be give yourself a treat. These treats can be anything – like getting a massage, visiting a museum, or sleeping in on Sunday.
Start small and realistic
Start with small and reasonable goals that you think you have a high likelihood of success. If this means only striving to do something once a week, that’s perfectly fine. It’s much better for you to succeed at making a change once a week then to set a goal of 5 times per week and only do it once. You’ll eventually start beating yourself up and may give up all together. Don’t strive for perfection; instead, do the best you can, and remember, tiny improvements quickly add up over time.
Focus on no more than two actions at a time
We strongly recommend that you focus on no more than two health actions at a time. Our extensive research and background in the field of habit building and wellness has shown us that most individuals can successfully incorporate a maximum of TWO new habits into their life at any time. Set yourself up for success and focus on one or a maximum of two habits at a time.
Get support from your friends and family. Tell them about what you’re doing and ask them to encourage you! And, if you’re feeling down or having trouble that particular week, seek support from your community.
If you are having trouble, change your goals
Notice when things are becoming a bit too difficult and you are starting to feel frustrated. If you can’t achieve the action you set out for yourself, you have a few options:
- First, reduce the target frequency. If your goal was to do something 5 times a week, try instead for 3 and see if you’re able to do that.
- If changing the target frequency doesn’t work, go ahead and pick a different health action that you might be more likely to achieve.
Remember, success breeds success! Choose reasonable and realistic goals that you can actually achieve and grow from there.
For more tips and tricks related to habit-building for wellness, we suggest you download Mountain Trek’s brand new Habit-Building & Goal-Tracking App in which we guide you through the process of turning health actions into habits into lifestyle changes.