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Everyone has habits. Most habits we don’t even think about, we just do them.
We have good habits, and we have bad habits. And we even have habits that aren’t inherently good or bad.
It can be very easy to develop bad habits, but very difficult to develop good ones or to stop habits.
We all wish it was easy to get into the habit of working out every day or to stop eating junk food. But we all know it’s easier to start the bad habit of eating junk food than it is to kick the habit.
Habits are behaviors that our minds take on after constant repetition, the more and more we do them, the easier it gets to do them without even thinking about it.
Habits run off of three elements. The cue to act out the habit, the act itself, and then the reward you receive after the act.
Some habits we don’t think about, like brushing our teeth. The cue is to go to the bathroom after you wake up, then brush your teeth, and you get the reward of having a clean mouth and completing a task.
Or eating junk food. The cue is that we feel hungry and like we want to snack, or maybe we just see the snack sitting on the counter. So we grab it and we chow down. Then we get the reward of the delicious treat and filling our stomachs.
It can be difficult to start a routine and create these habits but I have a few tips that may help you figure it out along the way.
- Choose one or two habits at a time
- You do not need to start or stop every habit all at once. Maybe you decided you wanted to start being healthier. So you want to start taking vitamins, eating healthy, working out, and meditating every day. Pick one, or two and start them. maybe start by taking the vitamins and working out a few times a week. Don’t overload yourself or you will get discouraged and set yourself up for failure.
- Start slowly and work your way up.
- If your goal is to work out every day, start with a couple of days at a time. I know this is how I like to do it. I start by working out a couple of days a week, then I work my way up to more days until I’m working out as many days as I want to. This way my body doesn’t hate me right off the bat and I don’t get overwhelmed, tired, and discouraged to the point where I want to quit. So start small and work your way up.
- If possible, have an accountability partner.
- Do you have a friend that can help you out or follow in the same habit-forming journey? This can be a great way to keep each other accountable and ensure that you are both following the right steps to success. Check in with each other every day or every week to make sure you are doing (or not doing) what you are supposed to.
- Set alarms on your phone for the habit
- If your habit is supposed to be at a certain time of day, set an alarm so that you don’t forget. This is especially handy for things like working out, taking vitamins, journaling and meditating. I have all kinds of alarms on my phone to help remind me of things and I have to say it’s the easiest way to do it.
- Be nice to yourself.
- Don’t get down on yourself because you forgot to do the habit today. If possible, do it once you remember to, or just make sure you do it the next day. It’s okay to mess up. We are all humans, and we all make mistakes. Just pick back up where you left off and do better next time. There is always room for improvement.
- Be consistent.
- The most important part of creating a new habit or stopping a bad habit is to make sure you are consistent. Try to do the habit at the same time every day and maybe even the same days of the week so that your body eventually just knows that at a certain time or on a certain day that you need to do the thing.
These are just a few suggestions to help create and stop habits. They are the ways that help me out when I am trying to create positive habits or stop negative ones.
Now let us look at a few habits, good and bad, that you might want to try.
Habits to Start and Habits to Stop
Good habits to start
- Drink more water
- Eat healthier
- Get moving
- Start a journal
- Love yourself more
- Spend less money
- Eat out less
- Create more
- Read more
- Start a night and morning routine
Bad habits to stop
- Eating junk
- Sleeping in too late
- Staying up too late
- Putting dishes in the sink and not the dishwasher
- Leaving things sitting out
- Negative self talk
- Giving up
This is obviously not an exhaustive list of habits, but it’s a decent place to start.
I recommend sitting down with a piece of paper or a journal and just brainstorming some habits that you do, both good and bad, and decided what new ones you want to start or if there are any you want to stop.
Then make a step-by-step detailed plan on how you will go about starting or stopping these habits. Maybe make a timeline as well for when you want to accomplish making this habit a daily thing or when you want to completely stop the bad habit.
I also recommend having a habit tracker so you can record every day if you did the habit or not. This way you can see how well you are doing and in what areas you need to improve. I have made this super simple habit tracker for you guys to download below.
Have fun with this. Please don’t force anything or get down on yourself for not being perfect.
Take things slowly and step by step until you get to where you want to be.
You go this!