Coming up with a habit that will make life easier isn’t too challenging, but staying the course is an entirely different story. Use these strategies for making a new habit stick:
#1 Create a routine
That’s what Nick Wignall, a clinical psychologist, did to decrease anxiety and reduce friction in the morning on workdays. He calls his end-of-the-day routine the “4:55 Drill.” Five minutes before he leaves his office, he jots down the three most important things he needs to get done the following day and leaves it on his desk. “I’m implicitly telling my brain it can relax, because I know exactly what I need to do tomorrow and won’t forget,” he says. “And, it keeps me from going from email to some strange Wikipedia rabbit hole and losing an hour of productivity.
#2 Get in touch with your inner coach
Using a critical, judgmental voice to push you into a habit isn’t sustainable, according to life coach and motivational speaker Christine Hassler. Instead, coach yourself toward what you want. “When we focus on what we don’t like, the more what we don’t like shows up,” Hassler says. “When we’re focusing on where we want to go, the more where we want to go shows up.”
#3 Give yourself a month
“Try something new for a minimum of 30 days before thinking it’s not going to work for you,” says certified health coach Sharon Fraser. There’s normal resistance for the first five or 10 days, so mark off your progress every day on a calendar. “Having that tick there says, ‘I accomplished this.’”
#4 Find an accountability partner
It’s important to have an “empowered advocate” to help us elevate ourselves and stay anchored in new, positive habits, even when we want to abandon them, says certified holistic health coach Katie McDonald. “That accountability enables us to learn how to parent ourselves skillfully.”
Printed as “Building Habits,” Summer 2019
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