All sorts of studies and research proved that building up a new habit will take about 30 to 60 days. In this episode, I want to focus on those first 30 days because they are the hardest.
I have divided the days into three sections:
- Phase 1 – the most difficult and least comfortable stage
The first 10 days are most challenging, playing with your willpower and asking questions like ‘Is it worth it?’ It can be painful even, but don’t let that stop you.
- Phase 2 – you are slowly accepting and acknowledging the change
It is getting easier every day as you focus on your goal and the positive impact this new habit has on your life.
- Phase 3 – starting to enjoy the process, results, and feelings
At this stage, you cannot stop. You have put a lot of effort in and enjoy the benefits your new habit brings into your life.
We often rely on our willpower that is not always as strong as we want it to be. This time, don’t take any chances. Instead of relying on your willpower, create some contextual clues:
|I am going to eat healthier.||→ I will have fish for lunch and soup for dinner.|
|I want to be more productive.||→ I will plan and prioritize ahead.|
|I want to be fit.||→ I will walk every morning before work.|
|I will learn a new language.||→ I will study for 10-30mins 5 days/week.|
Be specific and make plans. Do not limit yourself by saying ‘I will do this or that when I have…’, and this could be time, a new exciting gadget, less work to do etc. You have to make the most of what you have, otherwise, you are making excuses. It takes a lot of time and effort to build a strong mind, to be disciplined, to have confidence that we all crave, to be successful. People with cancer work out, people that are homeless are volunteering for a good cause, people with no money and no possessions are happy. We are all miracles and it’s time you start to see yourself as one. You deserve to change your life and live the way you want to live. Putting down that cupcake and start working out NOW is worth the final result.
You must find WHY you want this change in your life; what has this new habit got that you started thinking about it in the first place? Your ‘why’ must be strong enough to get you through the changes and push you through some tough parts and phases within these first 30 days. Find your why. Maybe you are looking at it right now. Maybe your why is your baby, your partner, your dog… I don’t know, but I do know that your ‘why’ starts with YOU. You are building yourself up in order to be here for everything and everyone else.
Make fewer decisions and create a daily routine. Routines are your own personal rituals that you do every day, every week, and every month. It can even be something you do every year, e.g. annual event. When you do something every day repeatedly, it will become a part of your routine. You can have a morning/afternoon and evening routine. Everybody is different, therefore everybody has a different kind of routine depending on their hobbies, work, goals.
- Morning routine – wake up at 5am, brush teeth, have breakfast, go for a walk, 20mins yoga, meditation
- Afternoon routine – lunch, doing tasks
- Evening routine – kids’ homework, planning next day, cooking, reading
This is where your journal will come in handy and you will see everything much clearer once you write it all down. Now, your day might seem very crowded as it is right now so trying to squeeze in a new habit can be challenging. But it is doable, trust me. When you want the change bad enough, you will make space and time for it to happen.
Visualize the process of implementing your new habit, see yourself taking small steps forward. Imagine what this new habit brings to your life. How does it feel? Taste it. Now, go and make that change, make it happen.
Analyse! Find exactly what it is that is holding you back and why you don’t want to do this or that. It is important to face the reality and see the negatives as well. How can this new habit affect your life and people around you? Are you afraid to change? Why? Write it down. Look at it. Now, look at your ‘why’ and compare these two. Which one do you want more? Which one is good for YOU? Remember, that you are trying to do something that is good for you, nothing should hold you back and if there is someone else you are considering to be a ‘problem’, talk to that person. Resolve the problem. Sometimes people don’t understand what and why we are making changes and that’s OK. The important thing is that you do know.
Habit building is very important for your self-esteem and confidence! You achieve something every single day and this is very rewarding. You get to pat yourself on your shoulder at the end of the day and say ‘I have done it! And I feel so good about myself!’
You are doing this for life and there will be times you will be too busy, ill, exhausted, on holiday etc. During this time, you won’t get much done which is fine! Your brain needs to relax sometimes too as well as your body. There is plenty of time, so don’t forget to give yourself a break time to time.
I personally find it very hard to switch from eating sugar/junk to healthy eating. If this is something that you are fighting right now, make the transition as smooth as possible. The most helpful tool that I found to be working on me is that I allow myself to have something sweet time to time. I don’t eat it but my brain thinks it can and therefore, it relaxes and feels comforted by this thought. It might sound silly, but our minds are very tricky and like to play games!
Just relax your brain. If you slip one two days, it is OK; don’t think about it too much. Move on and continue your journey. You cannot keep punishing yourself over and over again just because you have not completed one day 100% and then throw the towel in. Sometimes one day off is all you need to get back on track! Enjoy every moment of your life!
Now, go a make those changes, adjust your life and create new habits that will make YOU happy! No matter how slow or fast you go, you are moving forward. Smile and welcome every opportunity that comes along the way!
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