3 Key Habit-Forming Tips

We all have habits. Some of them are good (like those 20 minutes of walking you do each day) and some aren’t always so great (that extra piece of coffee cake you help yourself to on the daily) but often we don’t even notice ourselves doing them — because they are habitual. So what happens when you decide you want to form a new habit? How do you go about starting something “instinctual” (that may or may not be second-nature to you)?

We have three key tips that will start you on a new habit-forming journey!

Start Small:

While it’s important and helpful to have a big picture end goal, people often get lost in just how big that can be. It becomes daunting and overwhelming and it seems virtually impossible to achieve or maintain a habit that requires so much work. However, we encourage you to start small and to remember that just like a physical muscle, your willpower also functions much like a muscle. And if willpower is a muscle, you need to exercise that muscle. Start off with an easy enough goal so that way you’re not deterred by an impossible task.

Keep a Timeline:

Give yourself a timeline for motivation. By providing tangible markers and dates to complete goals by, you add an additional fuel to sticking to a habit. It takes about 66 days to form a habit which means that if you committed about two months of small, incremental goals, aiming to gradually improve over the span of it, you could very well have formed a brand new habit, little by little. The mistake many make is deciding that a habit must be 1) a huge change and 2) immediate. Remember, a habit can be as simple as remembering to always put your reading glasses away after using them. Think of something small that can change your life in a big way and focus on that. Remembering to put your glasses on your nightstand or in an organizer like the GRAB N’ GO can save you big on time which can change how much stress you face when getting ready for the day.

Have Association & Accountability:

Association is a powerful thing; when you apply it to forming a new habit, you may find it helps more than you initially thought. Rather than saying, “I’ll put my reading glasses away,” say “Before I get in bed, I’ll make sure my nightstand is clean.” If you keep your glasses on the nightstand, you will, by default, notice if they’re not there and get in the habit of keeping them there and being more mindful of their location.

When it comes to accountability, usually people who share their habit goals are more likely to keep them based on the social factor. If you tell someone you’re going to get into the habit of showing up to appointments 5 minutes early whether it’s going to the doctor’s, a lunch, out for tea, etc.,, your friends will be able to hold you accountable with their presence. Who wants to say they’re going to do one thing and have people know that they’re not doing it at all? Having social accountability is also encouraging if you have someone you know will check in on your progress and push you to see it through.

Habits aren’t necessarily easy to form but they don’t have to be complicated either. If you remember these three things to start small, keep a timeline and create associations and accountability you will be surprised at how straightforward forming a new habit can be. Have you ever successfully established a brand new habit? How did you do it?