“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence then is not an act, but a habit.” – Aristotle
You are in a slump and decide you need to make some changes in your life. You decide that the time has come to really solidify your life goals and create some new habits in order to reach them. You realize that you are master of your own destiny and only you can change your life by changing your habits. Knowing you need new habits and creating them, however, is not always easy. The good news is that once established, your new habits will become automatic and you won’t have to think about them anymore. Your new habits will become your regular habits and will become part of your daily life. The following tips will get you started on your habit changing journey.
1. Start with one or two.
Focus on just one or two of your most important goals to work on in the beginning. In starting with just a few goals at first, you are less likely to become overwhelmed, disillusioned and possibly give up altogether.
2. Create smaller, manageable goals.
Rather than setting large, seemingly insurmountable goals, start with bite-sized, more manageable ones. If you want to lose 25 pounds, start with a goal of just 5. Build on the success of your smaller achievements.
3. Be accountable.
Buy a journal to list out your goals and write out measurable steps you need to take to achieve them. Keeping a journal holds you accountable over time. Keeping a journal also provides a clear written record of your progress and success, keeping you inspired as you go. You may see a pattern for obstacles you encounter and find ways to deal with them to ensure you don’t give up.
4. Plan ahead.
If working out consistently is one of your goals, join a gym close to your house or on your route home from work. Keep your packed gym bag in the car. If you tend to snack at the vending machine during the day, bring fruits and veggies to work so you have healthier options to turn to when you feel hunger pains. The more pre-planning you do and fewer excuses you have, the more likely it is you will follow through with your plan.
5. Replace old with new.
In order to circumvent the automation of your regular habit, consider replacing that habit with something entirely new. Instead of meeting for happy hour with the girls after work, talk them into taking an art or cooking class together. You will break up your regular routine, learn something new and create interesting memorable bonding experiences.
6. Reward your success.
Acknowledge your successes with something that is valuable and enjoyable to you. Put this reward on the calendar. If your goal is to run 3 days a week, schedule a reward, like a massage, for the end of the month when you have achieved your goal.
7. Get support from a buddy.
There truly is strength in numbers. If you have to be accountable to another person, you are much more likely to stick with your goal setting plan. Working on goals with a buddy also makes the experience more fun and enjoyable.
8. Give yourself some slack.
Habits are hard to change. If you slip up, forgive yourself and continue moving forward. Get up the next day and try again. Not giving up is truly the key to your overall success. Trust in yourself and don’t give up. If it’s meaningful to you, it’s worth your continued effort. Creating new habits will move you closer to achieving your life goals and is always worth the effort.