A good habit can often seem harder to build than a bad habit. For example, if you regularly hit the bar with your friends, then spending a weekend waking up early, heading out to be productive, and then enjoying a quiet night in might sound like a strange change to your lifestyle. That’s not to say you’re incapable of it, quite the contrary, but it may take a little time to subvert that momentum and apply it in another direction.
If you find that your efforts towards building good habits often end in failure, then that doesn’t mean you’re fundamentally flawed as a person. It just means the approach you’ve been taking might not work for you.
So - how can you make good habits stick for good? Are there principles you can rely on? Which elements of conventional wisdom are worth keeping, and which should you renew? Let’s consider some of that advice, below:
One At A Time
It’s very easy to be grandiose about “now” being the time you’ll live healthily, and put together all of your habits. But we tend not to work like this. Changing one habit can take a little more time than you might first realize, and so it’s good to go one-at-a-time. Perhaps you’ll reduce how many drinks you have per month, choosing to go entirely alcohol-free for two weekends of the month. Or, perhaps you’ll switch out certain hobbies, like going for longer walks with your dog in the morning for exercise, taking up gardening, or switching to vapes as a temporary measure to fully quit. This way, you won’t become overwhelmed and are more certain to make good habits last.
Track Your Progress
Habit trackers on both the App and Play Stores can be a fantastic place to start, but it’s also quite easy to just jot down the days you succeed on your calendar. This way, you can see the weeks pass and look back at how far you’ve come when you have a weak moment. This way, you’ll be less likely to engage in a bad habit knowing just how far you’ve come, and that in itself can feel intrinsically rewarding to focus on.
Join A Community
Joining a community dedicated to people trying to rid themselves of a difficult habit by replacing them with good ones can be important. You can also connect with accountability partners who might have the same motivation you do. This way, you could meet up at the gym twice a week, less inclined to let another person down compared to how you might yourself. An approach like this is not only rewarding, but it helps you learn more about others, develop a connection with a friend, and share the burden of your bad habits with others. You’d be surprised just how positive having this kind of connection can be in life, because after all, a problem shared is a problem halved.
With this advice, you’re certain to make those good habits stick for good!
Early Years Nutrition Consultant
Food & Health Writer
Presenter on Early Years TV Food