Do you wish you had better habits? Most of want to have a good habit or two, but we don't develop them because there's just too much stuff going on all the time. Am I right?
I spend a lot of time thinking of good habits I'd like to develop, and bad habits I'd like to get rid of. I research them on Pinterest. And then, I don't do much about it.
The habits I have managed to develop have become second-nature because they've been around for so long. I just kept doing them over and over again and now they're automatic.
We all have second-nature habits. Some are good and some are bad. Here's some examples:
- Always putting your keys in the same spot.
- Making coffee every morning.
- Checking the locks on doors and windows before going to bed.
- Locking car doors.
- Turning off lights when you leave a room.
How to Make a Habit Automatic
Any habit can become a second-nature habit if you do it long enough. So, how do you get to that point where a habit becomes automatic?
- Make it part of your routine.
- Track your progress.
- Work on one habit at a time.
- Evaluate and work around stumbling blocks.
- Come up with alternatives.
Make it part of your routine
If you want to make it really easy on yourself, make your new habit part of your daily routine. For example, if you want to drink more water, set things up so you ALWAYS drink water when you wake up in the morning. This is easier said than done, so…
Track your progress
For every day you follow through on your new habit, track that positive behavior. Jerry Seinfeld used to do this to build a writing habit. He wanted to write every day, so he made an X on a piece of paper for each day he wrote. His goal was to not break the chain of X's on his paper. To do that, he had to write every day.
I like to put stickers on my family calendar. For every day I stick to my new habit, I put a sticker on the calendar. I like to tell my kids what I'm up to so they'll check on me. You could even just put a checkmark on the calendar.
Or, you can download the habit tracker featured in the image at the top of this post. It's nice and simple, and it will last for several months! Fill out the form below to download for free:
Work on one habit at a time
Work on one habit at a time, unless you're on doctor's orders to do differently. If you try to develop too many habits at once, it will be miserable. Stick to one habit for at least 30 days. If you feel like you've got it down, you can add on a new habit later.
Evaluate and work around stumbling blocks
If your new habit is closely tied to your routine, that can come back to bite you when your routine changes. Brainstorm ideas to still meet your habit goals when life throws you a curveball. Don't be hard on yourself – just figure out a realistic way to keep building your habit.
Come up with alternatives
What will you do if there's just no way you can follow through? Come up with reasonable alternatives before you hit stumbling blocks so you don't have to think them up on the spot. For example, if it's too snowy outside for you to do your daily walk, how will you fit it in? Could you walk in place while watching a TV show? Maybe you could take a trip to the mall and walk around inside?
What if you're trying to break a bad habit?
Abstainers do best if they completely stay away from the bad habit they're trying to break. Moderators do best if they allow themselves to indulge from time to time.
I've tried to be a moderator, but I'm not. If I give myself an inch, I'll take a mile.
Are you working on building any new habits? Tell us about it in the comments!
Track Your Habits!
Build motivation and track success with the habit tracker printable featured in this post. It's my gift to you when you sign up for the Organizing Moms newsletter!