It would be great if struggles would disappear and new ways set in automatically. Unfortunately, things do not work this way. For things to change you need to change. You need to commit to creating new habits to replace old habits or create new ways.
Why commit to creating new good habits?
If you have a goal, an outcome you want to achieve and you haven’t achieved the outcome before then something needs to change for you to achieve the outcome you search. Naturally, doing things the same way you have been, is not going to get you there.
If you want to lose weight but do not change eating habits or exercise then the chances are you won’t lose weight.
Committing to new good habits can over time move you closer to your goal. Just as bad habits can take you further away from your goal.
I read in The Compound Effect by Darren Hardy about three friends who over a period of time had dramatic changes to their lives. One of the three friends did something little every day to improve his life, just something little, reading and cutting approx 125 calories from his diet. The second friend plodded on exactly the same as he always had. And, the third person ate an extra 125 calories each day. Over two years the friends’ behaviours, habits and choices were visual.
The first friend had lost weight and improved his life, the second friend’s life was exactly as it was a few years earlier and the third person had put on weight which was causing other areas of his life to not be so rosy.
The compound effect of the small daily actions. No matter how large your end goal may be, with small daily actions, it is achievable. It is just a matter of time.
Commit to creating a new habit over 30 days.
30 days does not seem like a long time, yet, 30 days is ideal for creating a new habit. Decide what you want to change and how and then plan how you will do it over the next 30 days. If creating your own challenge is not for you, join in with a group or participate in one of the many monthly challenges in aid of a cause. Australians are good at getting behind the community and taking part in challenges for a cause. Some known challenges are listed below.
Febfast a challenge to give up something, alcohol, sugar for a month in the aid of young Australians who are disadvantaged.
Dryjuly a challenge to give up alcohol in the aid of cancer for a month.
Steptember an exercise challenge walking 10,000 steps a day in aid of Cerebral Palsy Alliance.
Ocsober another Aussie challenge to give up alcohol for the month of October to support life education, teaching youth the importance of a healthy lifestyle.
I often work with monthly or quarterly challenges. Consequently, a few days ago I commenced a 10,000 a day walking goal as part of Steptember. Walking for health and supporting cerebral palsy alliance at the same time.
Master how to commit to creating new habits and you can change your life.
There are many ways to reach your goal the best is to create new habits. Here are some suggestions to help you take steps to create new habits and strive for your goals.
Have an accountability partner.
One way to stay committed to your new habits is to find someone or a group who will do a challenge with you. Having a buddy, a friend or two is motivating and encouraging. When you have an accountability partner or group, you are more likely to stay committed to your goal. Ironically, self-commitment is not as strong as group commitment. You never want to let someone down.
Commit to daily consistency.
When starting a new habit, consistency is important. By creating a new habit that you take daily action on, you set new patterns. Eventually, the habit becomes part of your routine, your way of life. When you are not consistent, it is easier to give up. For example, if your goal is to meditate but you only do this ad-hoc, a few times a week, with time it is easy to just stop. Thus, without consistency, creating a new habit is not formed.
When you take action daily, the habit eventually becomes your new reality.
Anchor your new habit.
To create a habit that sticks, it is best to anchor the new habit to an established habit. For example, if your new habit is to walk each day anchor it to a specific action.
- After work each day I will go for a 30 minute walk before I go home.
If your habit is to track your food intake, a possible anchor is to write up the food straight after you have eaten it.
- After dinner each day, I will write in my food journal.
When you commit to forming a new action after a current established behaviour the new habit is more likely to stick.
Break your goal down into small steps.
A big goal can be scary. Break the goal down into small steps. Just as the saying goes ‘How would you eat an elephant, one bite at a time’. Write down your goal, read it and visualize it daily. Visualizing your goal or your ideal day can help you achieve your goals.
With my goals, I write them down and then break them down to actionable steps. Each day I ask myself “What can I do today to feel amazing and bring me closer to my goal?”. Then I write down two things to do. Some days the focus may be on business, other days health. Some days I ask this question for more areas of my life as I aim for a balanced life.
Understand your ‘why’, your benefits and consequences.
Creating a new habit is not something you just do, there is usually a plan, a reason, a ‘why’ as to want to change something in your life. Understanding why you want to set a new habit, and the benefits and consequences. Understanding you why benefits and consequences will provide added motivation and inspiration.
One of my goals is to lose weight by creating lifestyle changes. The benefits of lifestyle changes will assist with weight loss and living a happy and healthier life. The benefits outweigh the consequences dramatically. As I lose weight, the soreness in my knees will improve, and I’ll be able to walk longer trails again. I’ll feel healthier and know I’ll be able to achieve more of the adventurous goals I have.
When you set long-term goals that matter to you it is easier to commit to creating new habits for yourself, you are moulding a new way of life.
Plan for obstacles.
There will always be obstacles. Some common obstacles like weather, time, costs and invites do not need to be stumbling blocks. Aim for success by being prepared for scenarios that may come your way.
It is so easy to stop and miss a daily action when the imagined ideal environment changes. Plan for the obstacles as to stay on track.
If the goal is to walk daily in nature and it’s raining, walk on a treadmill at the gym or at a shopping centre instead.
- Rain – go to the gym or dance to your favourite music.
- Invite to a meal – ask about the menu.
- A function where there will be nibbles – eat prior.
- No time – Get up 30 minutes earlier, plan the action into the day, break it up into small time chunks.
Turn your obstacles into stepping stones that propel you closer to your goal or goals.
Changing your ways is not easy. Reaching your goal is not easy, that is why it is important to celebrate the small steps as you go. Create milestones as you aim for your goal. When you reach a milestone, reward yourself. A reward does not need to be expensive, nor should a reward counteract your goal. By this, I mean, if you are eating healthy, the reward should not be eating something unhealthy. Think of rewards that you would enjoy, maybe a massage, an extra hour relaxing and reading, a picnic to your favourite spot.
Commit to creating new habits by using habit triggers and see where it will take you.