Add one new habit at a time. Be pragmatic and start with small changes in your daily routine -- small wins make it easier to bag bigger ones. Link new habits to old ones so that the old one naturally triggers you to perform the new one (e.g. associating workouts with the sound of an alarm). Regularly perform the new habit for at least 2 months. If you skip a day, restart the count. Stay motivated.
I received an email from a client named Elizabeth where she asked: “How can I create new habits and rituals into my already so busy life?” When I read her email I thought, “Damn, that is an AWESOME question.” So much of what I focus on is based on building good and supportive habits and rituals that help me create the life I love.
With that in mind, I decided to answer her question. I’m betting you’ve asked yourself this same question.
Each Day Is A Series Of Habits
Habits are things we do without even thinking. For example, we all have a morning ritual. I wake up, hit the snooze once, get out of bed, and then I go to the bathroom. I grab my workout clothes and get dressed. I do my workout. Then I jump into the shower. After my shower, I make a cup of coffee (my manly man has a ritual of getting up, feeding our furry clan, and then making a pot of coffee.) While my hair is still up in a towel, I check email and my social media sites. After my coffee, I brush my teeth, take my hair down from the towel, and use hydrogen peroxide in my mouth while I blow dry my hair. Then I get dressed for the day and get to work.
What Does Having A Habit Mean?
A ritual is a series of steps that you follow. A habit is something you do over and over without consciously thinking about it, and a habit, therefore, is hard to stop.
We all lead very busy lives; it’s the way things are these days. So adding in a new ritual or habit can seem impossible. I sometimes even have thoughts of “Where will I find the time?” The truth is that a new practice, habit, or ritual in your life doesn’t have to take a lot of your time, especially at the beginning.
How To Cultivate A New Habit?
Here are some steps to help you begin a daily practice of incorporating habits and rituals into your busy life.
1. Choose One Thing At A Time
It’s very important to start slow and add manageable and realistic practices into your life a little at a time. If you’re like me, your energy and time is already spread thin, leaving you with very little time to add to your already hectic schedule.
Focus on adding one change at a time.
2. Take Baby Steps
Taking on a big change all at once can lead to frustration and make it difficult to accomplish your goal. Starting small is the best way to ensure success. Taking baby steps helps you narrow your focus and allows you to put all your energy into your goal.
As you build one habit at a time, you gain momentum. The small successes then build to become bigger successes in the future.
Remember, who wins the race in the end, the tortoise or the hare? The tortoise!
3. Anchor The New Habit
We all have habits. When you think about it, your day is habit after habit … all strung together. You can use the habits you already have in place to help create new ones. So, when developing a new habit, try to anchor the new habit to one of your existing habits.
If you already have the habit of waking up to an alarm clock every morning, you can anchor the new habit of tapping, saying affirmations, or even working out as soon as you hear your alarm go off. In time you will associate working out with waking up in the morning. Waking up with your alarm clock becomes the trigger. You’ve just anchored a new habit.
4. Do It Every Day For Two Months
It takes time to create a new habit. And no, it’s not the 21 days that you have always heard. In truth, the exact amount of time differs from person to person and the habit they choose, but according to a 2009 study from University College, London, it takes approximately 66 days.
Repetition and giving yourself time to adjust are the main factors in forming a new behavior pattern. You must be mindful to work on the new, desired habit every day. If you slip up, just start again the next day. Whatever you do, don’t give up and throw in the towel!
Give yourself at least 60 days of repeating your process or tasks to create your new habit.
Do you have any quick and simple ideas that have helped you build a new habit?