No matter how good you start the New Year, by promising yourself to absolutely stick to your new habit this year, there’s a good chance you’ve already faltered, if not completely given up. It’s important to know that this doesn’t make you a failure, just that you haven’t gotten into the habit in the best way. Here’s how to make a new habit and stick to it.
What is wrong
Before we can look at how to get a new habit going, we first need to look at what is preventing us from doing this. There are a few hurdles that get in the way when it comes to creating new habits. For example, we delay the onset of this habit for various reasons, and that perfect day to start never comes. We miss the boredom of sticking to a plan. And finally, we rationalize not doing this habit, which dominates our desire to stick to it. Here are three ways to overcome these common obstacles.
Focus on departure
Watching is the hardest part, but once you’ve gotten over that hurdle, you should be good to go. Set yourself a trigger for when you’re going to get into the habit each day. At that point (this can be a set time, like 9:00 a.m., or after an action, like when you’ve had your breakfast), just jump into the habit, rather than postponing it. Just remember to start, every time. Don’t be ashamed to start small, for example, if you want to be able to write 3000 words a day; it’s okay to get into the habit with just 1000 to start. The important thing is to start.
To be present
Although we tend to be constantly distracted, just working towards the next item on our to-do list is actually not useful for building habits. It is important to be present in the habit and to really live the present moment. Make an effort to see it as something you have to do, rather than having to do, and that it is a positive, conscious practice, rather than a chore. This will help reduce the boredom of having to stick to a plan.
Don’t let yourself be rationalized
We often find ourselves rationalizing the reasons for not doing something because it’s easier than doing it. We tell ourselves we will do it later, or that missing just once won’t make a difference, but that’s where things fall apart. Instead of giving in to these rationalizations, take a moment to pause, take a few deep breaths, and remind yourself why you wanted to engage in this habit in the first place. Are these reasons still relevant? Do you want to devote yourself to it? Hopefully, this reflection will remind you that you made a commitment to something for a reason and make sure you don’t mess everything up in a decision at a shared time.
So start this new habit today! Whether you want to train harder, meditate, or drink plenty of water. Say no to whatever is holding you back and remember how to overcome those obstacles.