6 Ways to Make a Good Habit Stick
Follow through on your goals and be sure you stick with them with these practical tips.
1. Know What You Want – and Really Want It
The odds of hanging on to a new habit improve when you’re motivated by self-interest. For example, think about how flossing leaves your mouth feeling clean and your teeth debris-free. It might even save you stress and money, with fewer trips to the dentist and smaller bills.
2. Make it Easy
Going from zero to 60 is tough. Break down your goal, especially if you’re starting from scratch. Rather than declaring you’re going to run a 10-kilometre race this summer, decide to do 15 minutes of exercise every morning. Up the ante when your new habit becomes old.
3. Create a Chain
Think of your new routine as a link in a chain. Hitch it to something you already do automatically, such as walking the dog, having a coffee or coming home from work. Make the sequence natural and tie related tasks together.
4. Hold Yourself Accountable
Once you’ve set a goal, spread the word. Meet a buddy for coffee to practice your French. If eating more fresh fruit is your aim, join forces with a co-worker to buy each other produce on alternate weeks. Social media and smart-phone apps can offer added support by cheering your success.
5. Reward Yourself
Developing a good habit doesn’t need to be a chore. Reward yourself immediately and you’ll improve your chances of repeating the behaviour. Each time you go for a run, stick a gold star on your calendar. After a dozen, schedule a manicure or a massage, or contribute to your running-gear fund.
(Photo: David De Lossy/Digital Vision/Thinkstock)
6. Don’t Get Discouraged
A recent study found that a new pursuit took an average of 66 days to take hold. Researchers also found that missing a day shouldn’t scuttle your attempt at change. Just pick up where you left off.