Whoever said, “Old habits die hard,” wasn’t wrong.
We all go through seasons of life when we want to change certain things about ourselves and live a better life.
We want to eat better, exercise more, procrastinate less, work less, worry less, have more passion and excitement, be more spiritual, or simply drink more water each day.
And then it hits us. Old habits have to go. Because to become something else requires us to do something else.
Starting a new habit seems easier said than done. After all, we had that habit for a reason – it served a purpose.
Why does it feel like bad habits don’t take any effort while making new ones seems almost impossible at times? (We touched on this in last week’s post.)
Here’s a simple three-step process for making new habits a whole lot easier. Whereas last week’s post might’ve spoken more to creative thinkers, this might appeal to the analytical thinkers in our midst.
Following this easy three-step process internalizes the new behavior until it becomes a habit that we do automatically without thinking about, like flossing our teeth before brushing.
Decide On Your New Action
Step one is deciding on the new action you’re going to start doing and how you will execute it.
You’re not going to start meditating more. You’re going to brush your teeth as soon as you get up and then sit in your favorite chair for 10 minutes to pray, meditate and journal.
You’re not just going to start exercising more. You’re going to take a fifteen-minute walk after dinner Monday-Friday.
Decide what you’re going to do and then how and when you will do it. Be clear and specific.
Show yourself that you’re committed to this “new” you by scheduling your new habits on your calendar. Commitment is half the battle. Getting yourself to take action is the other half.
Remind Yourself To Do It!
Step two is giving yourself reminders. You won’t have too much trouble sticking to your new habit the first few days because you’re so excited. But, after a few days, enthusiasm can begin to fade, and you’ll feel tempted to slip back into old habits.
Maybe it’s cold or rainy after dinner, and sitting on the couch under a cozy blanket would feel better! Or maybe your day with all its duties and demands is starting to get away from you…until your reminder alerts you that it’s time to take action. This is one reason why setting an alert or reminder on your phone is important because it’ll prompt you into action. When the reminder goes off, take a few seconds to remember why this is important to you, and then commit to it like NASA with a short countdown before launching into action without any excuses.
Make It Routine Until It Becomes A Habit
Step three is making it a routine until it becomes habitual. It takes time and repetition for a new behavior to become a habit. Until that day comes, make routine your friend. By “installing” the new action into your routine, you prepare the way for success and have an easier time following through with the new behavior without expending as much willpower.
Make going to the gym part of your lunchtime routine, or pack an apple in the morning to eat during your break instead of visiting the vending machine.
This three-step process really isn’t all that exciting or profound. It doesn’t have any secret hacks or magic formulas. But, by deciding on your new action and how and when you’re going to execute it, and making it a routine part of your day, prompting yourself religiously to follow through with reminders, is a surefire process for creating new habits that unlock your best life.
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