5 tips to change a habit

According to a study done by the European Journal of Social Psychology (https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1002/ejsp.674 ) it takes an average of 66 days to form a new habit. That’s approximately 2 months. 2 months of committed, diligent, and intentional action to make a desired change.

What is a habit anyway? And why should we be concerned about them?
A habit is anything small or large that you do daily – it’s a series of small decisions or thoughts (because habits can be mental too) that compose your day. Habits string together to form routines, and these habits and routines cumulatively make up our days. Thus you can see, habits have a huge influence on our health, mindset, and life in general – for better or worse. For example, if you are in the habit of getting home from work and eating a piece of cake you may have a higher likelihood of heart disease than someone who is in the habit of getting home from work and taking a walk. What you do repeatedly makes you who you are.

Here are 5 tips to help change or maintain a new habit
1. It’s not all or nothing. We are human, not robots. If you make an ‘error’ or have a ‘fail’ it’s OKAY! You’re not going to gain ten pounds by eating one slice of cake, just like you’re not going to get better sleep by going to bed earlier one night a week – it’s the consistent practice that matters.

2. Know what’s important to you and do that. Make changes for yourself, based on what’s meaningful to you, not what you ‘should’ do.

3.Remind yourself. Let’s face it, we’re forgetful! We have a lot going on, so make life easier – give yourself reminders! Put post-it notes around the house, work, or car. Set alarms on your phone. Make appointments with yourself. Get creative here – what is going to remind you to drink more water? Go to sleep by 10? Meditate? Move your body? Try a couple different ways!

4. Keep it simple. Just pick one or two things to address at a time, and start small. Once you master a desired outcome, then move on to another.

5. Get support! Enlist family, friends, and coworkers to help you! The more people who know about your desired change, the more people who will help keep you accountable. Join forces and feed on each other’s energy! For example – join a run club, meditation group, yoga studio. Tell your coworker about your water-drinking challenge or whatever, just get others involved and get involved with others!

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