Well Hello, my Redonkulous friends! This week I want to talk to you about creating new habits!
We all have those moments in our lives that we get this bug up our butt to change our behavior. We want to be better and in doing so we want to work on creating new habits for ourselves. This could be getting in the habit of drinking more water. It could be moving more and taking yourself or your dog for a daily walk. It could be work-related, emotional or spiritual. Just know there are so many areas in our lives that could be improved and made easier if we spent some time creating new habits.
Whoa whoa whoa, Michele… hold your horses. Getting into the habit of doing something new is easier said than done. I know, I know. However, we seem to acquire bad habits without any effort, but getting into a “good” habit can be a little more challenging.
I want to break down the process that makes it easy to follow until we have made the new behavior part of your second nature to do and made it a true habit – something we do automatically without having to think about, like brushing our teeth.
Decide What You Want To Do
What you want that new habit to be? Be as specific as possible. Don’t just tell yourself you want to exercise more. Be intentional and say “I will go for a 30-minute walk every day”. After you take some time and think about what your new habit will be. You commit to yourself that you will stick to the when and how. Just by making that decision… half of your battle is over.
Be very specific. The most specific the more you are likely to do it. If we were just to say “we want to exercise more” I could justify walking from couch to my fridge back to the couch as exercise. It defeats the purpose.
Be specific. I will walk 30 minutes every day, so I made it a point to map out a route on Google Maps going from street to street. It equals 1 mile and takes about 26 mins to walk. Not exactly 30 but close enough. I screenshot it and emailed it to myself so I could save it to my phone.
Remind Yourself To Get It Done
The next few days should be smooth sailing. You’re motivated and excited to get this done. Sticking to your new habit isn’t an issue. But a few days in you’ll notice that it’s easy to slip back into old habits and we don’t want that.
Maybe it’s raining and you don’t really want to go out and walk. Maybe your day just gets away from you. I know things happen and things just slip from your mind. Although, if this is something important to you, you will find alternatives for when life throws you curve balls.
I always check the weather each day to see how it will look for the day. If the weather says it will rain by 2p. I need to get my butt out and walk before 2p. It’s okay if you miss a day, but make sure you don’t just stop because something happened one day. This is when it’s important to have a daily reminder. I set an alarm on my phone or I will add the new habit to my to-do list for a while.
Include It In Your Routine Until It Becomes A Habit
Which brings us to the last step. It will take some time before a new behavior becomes a habit. Until then, a routine will work to your best bet. Make that daily walk part of your family time routine, or change from grabbing a snack at the gas station or fast food place to packing a healthy snack.
Once you set a routine to include your new habit, even before the new behavior becomes automatic, that will help you get it done without having to spend a lot of willpower. You may not even need to rely on daily reminders.
The Relationship Between Habits and Willpower
Now that we have established how to start. Let’s talk about what is needed to keep our new habit.
Willpower… It’s hard to keep up willpower for any length of time.
Yes, we can stick to a diet for a week or two, but eventually, our willpower fades. And yes, we can eat the damn salad and do damn exercise we hate for a while… but we will run out of willpower.
But what about when we get up in the morning to brush our teeth, cleaning the house or getting ready for work. We do those daily even though they are not our favorite things to do. We do them without running out of willpower because they are part of our daily routine. That’s because they have become habits. We do them without even considering skipping a day or a week because they have become so ingrained in what we do and who we are. We don’t have to make a conscious decision each day to shower or drive to work. It’s just what we do – a habit.
Habits and Willpower go hand in hand
When you start to think about it, there’s this relationship between habits and willpower. It takes a lot of willpower to start a new habit. The constant remind day in and day out. It becomes easier and easier the more you start to establish that habit. Until you don’t even have to think about it anymore. It becomes this mindless thing you do.
Going in knowing that this process is going to take some time, it kind of helps us stick it out. I have said it before and will say it again. It’s okay if you slip up and miss a day. The world is not going to end. However, you need that will power to start again and make sure you are getting back to the grind after missing a day. Just know in time… There is a light at the end of the tunnel. We know eventually, it will become a habit to go out for a walk first thing in the morning or grab some fruit or make some eggs for breakfast.
It’s all about willpower until it becomes a habit
While we’re in that transition from willpower to habit, we can use tools to make it easier. Set a reminder on your phone to stay on track or if you love lists as I do… then make a to-do list. Find an accountability partner so the two of you can motivate each other and help support your willpower when it starts to fade after the first wave enthusiasm wears off.
Set a reminder to do something as simple as laying out your running clothes the night before and keeping your sneakers by the door will make it a little easier to go out for that walk. Do what you have to help your willpower along. Help yourself until you have made the new behavior a true habit. After that, it’ll be easy and automatic knowing you’ve created a new lifelong habit.
Does It Take Long when Creating New Habits?
I have read that it 21 days to create a new habit. Which is kind of weird, isn’t it? It doesn’t take 21 days to create a bad habit. No matter how hard we work it takes us longer to form a new habit.
I can’t give you a straight answer. If really depends on you and how much willpower you have. How much of your mindset are you putting into forming this habit? Are you half-assing it and thinking you will get results overnight? It also depends on what habit you are trying to form. How big of a change is it from what you are doing now?
If it is your habit to quit coffee in the morning and you switch from coffee to tea, it’s might not going to take you very long to make that a new habit. Going from being a couch potato to a marathon runner might take a lot longer. You need a plan.
How long does it take before it gets easier?
When we ask ourselves that question, what we are really wanting to know is…how long will it be tough before it gets easier. Is there a light at the end of the tunnel where we don’t have to try so hard anymore? In other words, when will my new habit become a behavior that is automatic?
It is different from person to person, depending on the habits you are trying to form. However, please keep a few things in mind…
It’s easier to make a new habit than get rid of an old one. As long as you are prepared to work a lot harder on your new habit. Try to replace an old habit with a new one. For example, if you’re wanting to give up coffee, as I have said before…brew a cup of tea instead and do it when you would normally get up and grab a cup of coffee.
Don’t change the environment, change the action
Habits could possibly develop faster if you stick to the same time and environment each day. Instead of going for a walk whenever, schedule your walk every day at the same time every day, like right after dinner for some family fun exercise for example.
Give yourself a constant reminder of why you are doing what you are doing. It could be very helpful when you are changing a habit or creating a new one. Remind yourself with a vision board of the life you want. That you are sticking to your goals and new habits to manifest the life you want. Keep your reason why you’re changing front and center. Then make a plan to stick it out. Yes, it will take some time to replace old habits with new ones. But it will be worth it in the end.
6 tips To Help When Creating New Habits
Since we know its never easy creating new habits, I wanted to include six tips that could help make it easier. Use them until you’ve made the new habit part of your second nature and don’t need the visual queues anymore.
Put It On Your To-Do List
I know I am guilty of this… Sometimes life just throws a lot of curveballs our way and we forget we are trying something new. Maybe we forget about the healthy overnight oats we made and make some extra of our kid’s waffles. Things happen. Ain’t no shame in forgetting.
Schedule your new habits or make them part of your daily to-do list until they become automatic. If I know I am making my step-daughter waffles in the morning. I will put a sticky note to the box in the freezer saying “hey, don’t forget about the breakfast you made for yourself!”
It’s the little things you do that can really help streamline your process of creating this new habit.
Make It Public and Be Accountable
Say it loud and say it proud to family and friends. Let them know you are working on some better habits for yourself. They may shoot you a message once in a while and ask how your new habits are going. It may be the swift kick in the butt you needed if you have fallen off track.
You could even share it publicly on Facebook or write a blog post about your new journey. I know I am doing that and will be making follow up posts about it. Knowing that others are reading it could be the motivation you need to keep yourself going when you feel like giving up.
Creating new habits by Piggyback On A Habit You Already Have
Whenever possible, adjust the habit you already have. You want the habit of taking a daily walk, give yourself an incentive after you do the walk. You take a shower and enjoy your favorite cup of tea after your walk. By making it a new ritual to go for your walk and then come back to shower and enjoy your tea. By doing that it makes it much easier to adjust an existing habit or ritual than creating an entirely new one.
Make slipups cost you
Here’s a fun idea. Put a jar on the kitchen counter and each time you slip back into your bad habit or forget to stick to the new one you have to put a dollar in the jar. It will quickly help you remember to skip that bad habit and motivate you to go out for that walk. For extra motivation donate the money to charity at the end of the month or buy yourself something you have been eyeing.
Start a buddy system
Find a buddy with the same or similar goal. Could you use a workout partner or a diet buddy? Keep tabs on each other and encourage each other to keep going. Make it a weekly meet up to go for a walk if your goal is to walk. It’s harder to skip a walk if you know someone else is depending on you being there.
Make It A Group Challenge
Find influencers who inspire you to live your life with gratitude, purpose, and intention. If one accountability partner is good, a whole group is even better. And they don’t even need to be local. Find a group online that will support each other. Make it a challenge to stick to your new habit for the next 30 days. You can make it a little friendly competition. You don’t want to be the first one to give up. It may keep all of you motivated until you establish that new habit.
Give these simple little hacks a try. Use the ones you find helpful until you have made new habits you can stick with without the help of any tools or support. But don’t just ditch your friends. Stay active in cheers on others who join your online group.
The Benefit Of having a Routine
Do you have noticed that it gets harder to make decisions toward the end of the day? Maybe you are too tired to figure out dinner or what movie to watch with your family. Its because we make so many decisions during the day, by the end of it you just don’t care.
If this sounds like you, it can help to prioritize. A lot of decision making can be cut from your day if you implement habits and routines. When you have habits and routines set in place you can save your decision making for the more important stuff. Free up your brain to be more creative and have productive thinking. Routines are a great tool that can simplify our lives and cut out a lot of our stress daily.
You may already have a morning routine
Chances are you already have a morning routine. You get up, you get your coffee, read the paper or check email and fix some breakfast before heading into the shower. Let’s expand on that. If you create a “uniform” for yourself, you don’t even have to think about what to wear. You just grab a pair of pants and a shirt, or a skirt, tights and sweater and off you.
Implement some routines into your workday wherever possible. My morning start by making my coffee and going to sit at my desk. Sitting at my desk I like to think about what I have to do that day, by doing a braindump. Anything and everything I am thinking, I get everything out of my head and on to paper. I then put things into high priority, low priority and things that can be done another day. If you follow me on Instagram, you would see that I love lists, I am always making myself lists.
I love making schedules for blogging, meal planning, cleaning. One schedule I loved making was the blogging schedule in an open office spreadsheet. It was color coordinated and then I screenshot it to put it as my computer background so every time I turn on my computer I can see what needs to be done for this blog. Meal planning helps me figure out what meals to prepare and eat. A cleaning schedule makes sure I stay on track with our household chores without having to spend any valuable decision-making skills in the process.
A nighttime routine could make your mornings easier
Another way to streamline your day is by making a bedtime routine. It not only helps when you’re too tired to make smart choices, but it also helps you fall asleep more easily. The bedtime routine that your kids use could help you too.
I always start my nightly routine by cleaning up around the house a little bit. I ALWAYS make sure the kitchen is clean. Dishes are done, Mike’s lunch is made. These are just some examples. I like to come up with some things to do that will calm me and my brain down. I want to slow myself down and get ready for sleep. Sometimes I read a book, listen to some music or wind down with a cup of herbal tea. Sometimes I write in my journal… lately I have really been into coloring while listening to a podcast.
List’s can make your days a little bit easier
As I have said before I love lists. Take an afternoon to sit and write what parts of your days or week stress you out. See if you can come up with a routine that could make that time of day or week easier for you? Write down and create daily to-do lists for yourself until you’ve established these new habits and routines.
By spending that afternoon creating routines and habits could make your day run a lot smoother. You might just find yourself less stressed and get more done during your productive hours. And that’s a beautiful thing. It allows you to save plenty of decision making for the fun stuff like figuring out what game you will play for family game night, what family movie to watch or what day to go swimming at the local pool.
Now go get started on creating new habits!
Congratulations! I am so proud that you have decided to create new habits. I hope my post has pointed you in some kind of direction that helps you. Just remember to keep practicing the routine until it’s second nature and you’ll be well on your way to creating new habits.
Please share with a friend or family member and also leave a comment to let me know what habit you are trying to accomplish!
Until Next Time, Have a Great Day!