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5 Tips to Encourage Habit Creation

5 Tips to Encourage Habit Creation

We all want to improve, to better ourselves. It’s common to know our own faults, but be unable to act upon them. Sometimes we want to be more comfortable with our bodies, yet we don’t exercise. We might want to be a better artist, but we don’t practice. The problem is: you might be tackling these issues the wrong way.

If you start reading about habit creation, you’ll see that it takes a lot more than you think to actually acquire habits into your life. Although the techniques are vast and various, if you pay attention to some specific points, you’ll see results sooner than later.

Here are the best tricks to create good habits:

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1. Start small

Some people don’t realize that the whole process happens gradually. I mean, if you want to start running, you won’t be able to do 10 km on your first day without getting exhausted. The idea is that you should start with a task that is easy to tackle and grow from there. If you’re aiming for 10 km, start with three. Once you’ve got that mastered, add a couple more kilometers until you reach your goal.

If you’d like to write more, you might want to start with 100 words per day. It’s so easy that you constantly find yourself writing more. You should then go to 300, 500 and before long you’ll be writing 1000 words a day.

Just apply the same system for any new habits you want to create.

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2. Pay attention to triggers

One particular characteristic of habits is that they tend to be tied to a trigger. One way to create new habits is to try to insert those triggers in your life. The same applies if you’d like to get rid of any habit.

So a classic way to remember a trigger is sticky notes. If you’d like to drink more water, you should put one on your bathroom mirror, so as soon as you wake up, you’ll see the note and drink a glass of water. Likewise, if you always feel like smoking after having coffee, you should try to control your caffeine intake.

3. Have an accountability partner

This is a powerful way to make a habit stick with you. When you have someone to call you out if you’re falling behind or cheer you on if you’re achieving a lot, you’ll quickly see it’s a strong motivator.

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Ideally, both of you should be creating new habits together. So if you decide to start running every day at 7:00 am and one day you just don’t feel like it, the embarrassment of disappointing your friend will be the encouragement you need to get out of bed!

4. Have a backup plan

As much as we try to have a set schedule and some sort of regularity in our lives, the truth is that things happen. We might get sick, the kids will be home for half-term, or the weather changes and there’s a massive storm brewing.

You can easily lose track of your habits if you’re not aware of the changes around you. So, can you exercise at home if you can’t run because of the rain? Can you wake up one hour earlier to meditate just so your kids won’t distract you? If you have a backup plan, events out of your control won’t affect your habit creation.

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5. Reward yourself

Changing yourself is no small feat and if it starts feeling like a burden, you’ll be tempted to quit and tell yourself you tried. But it doesn’t have to be this way. You should be having fun as you get healthier, smarter, more productive, etc.

Every time you achieve a new milestone you should give yourself a small gift, be it doughnut, a beer or whatever makes you happy. The idea here is that you’re getting something because you deserve it. It’s a reminder that you’re on the right track.

At the end of the day, there are several ways to create a new habit and make yourself a better person. These are just five ideas to help you understand how the whole process works. There are great websites out there with specific plans to help you achieve your goals.

So the question is: what’s the habit you’re going to create?

Featured photo credit: Francesco Gallarotti – Unsplash via unsplash.com

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Guilherme Ribeiro

Freelance Writer

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Last Updated on September 20, 2018

How to Stay Calm and Cool When You Are Extremely Stressful

How to Stay Calm and Cool When You Are Extremely Stressful

Being in a hurry all the time drains your energy. Your work and routine life make you feel overwhelmed. Getting caught up in things beyond your control stresses you out…

If you’d like to stay calm and cool in stressful situations, put the following 8 steps into practice:

1. Breathe

The next time you’re faced with a stressful situation that makes you want to hurry, stop what you’re doing for one minute and perform the following steps:

  • Take five deep breaths in and out (your belly should come forward with each inhale).
  • Imagine all that stress leaving your body with each exhale.
  • Smile. Fake it if you have to. It’s pretty hard to stay grumpy with a goofy grin on your face.

Feel free to repeat the above steps every few hours at work or home if you need to.

2. Loosen up

After your breathing session, perform a quick body scan to identify any areas that are tight or tense. Clenched jaw? Rounded shoulders? Anything else that isn’t at ease?

Gently touch or massage any of your body parts that are under tension to encourage total relaxation. It might help to imagine you’re in a place that calms you: a beach, hot tub, or nature trail, for example.

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3. Chew slowly

Slow down at the dinner table if you want to learn to be patient and lose weight. Shoveling your food down as fast as you can is a surefire way to eat more than you need to (and find yourself with a bellyache).

Be a mindful eater who pays attention to the taste, texture, and aroma of every dish. Chew slowly while you try to guess all of the ingredients that were used to prepare your dish.

Chewing slowly will also reduce those dreadful late-night cravings that sneak up on you after work.

4. Let go

Cliche as it sounds, it’s very effective.

The thing that seems like the end of the world right now?

It’s not. Promise.

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Stressing and worrying about the situation you’re in won’t do any good because you’re already in it, so just let it go.

Letting go isn’t easy, so here’s a guide to help you:

21 Things To Do When You Find It Hard To Let Go

5. Enjoy the journey

Focusing on the end result can quickly become exhausting. Chasing a bold, audacious goal that’s going to require a lot of time and patience? Split it into several mini-goals so you’ll have several causes for celebration.

Stop focusing on the negative thoughts. Giving yourself consistent positive feedback will help you grow patience, stay encouraged, and find more joy in the process of achieving your goals.

6. Look at the big picture

The next time you find your stress level skyrocketing, take a deep breath, and ask yourself:

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Will this matter to me…

  • Next week?
  • Next month?
  • Next year?
  • In 10 years?

Hint: No, it won’t.

I bet most of the stuff that stresses you wouldn’t matter the next week, maybe not even the next day.

Stop agonizing over things you can’t control because you’re only hurting yourself.

7. Stop demanding perfection of yourself

You’re not perfect and that’s okay. Show me a person who claims to be perfect and I’ll show you a dirty liar.

Demanding perfection of yourself (or anybody else) will only stress you out because it just isn’t possible.

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8. Practice patience every day

Below are a few easy ways you can practice patience every day, increasing your ability to remain calm and cool in times of stress:

  • The next time you go to the grocery store, get in the longest line.
  • Instead of going through the drive-thru at your bank, go inside.
  • Take a long walk through a secluded park or trail.

Final thoughts

Staying calm in stressful situations is possible, all you need is some daily practice.

Taking deep breaths and eat mindfully are some simple ways to train your brain to be more patient. But changing the way you think of a situation and staying positive are most important in keeping cool whenever you feel overwhelmed and stressful.

Featured photo credit: Brooke Cagle via unsplash.com

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