It is Simpler Than it Seems.
Many want to start something new: jogging, meditation, diet, online learning, etc. However, even more of us feel intimidated by the very process of starting. Or we do start, but give it up soon. Familiar story, isn’t it? Here is how to make taking up new habits easier.
Link your habits
We are all creatures of habits. The best way to start a new habit is to link it to an existing one. Think about your regular morning or evening routines and see where your new habit might best fit. For example, if you want to start mediation, you may add this practice to your morning cup of coffee routine. Or, if you’re looking to move more, consider walking home from the office or taking the stairs instead of the elevator when you go to the supermarket.
Changes require a lot of motivation. Yet thinking about your ultimate big goal may make your start-up efforts seem insufficient. Do keep the big picture in mind, but break it into small steps or doable portions first. If you are looking to run a marathon, start with walking 1 km a day. Once this feels easy, start running. Add kilometre after kilometre. Don’t attempt all 42 km from day one. Tiny steps are what you need to reach your big aim.
Do it every day
Habits take a long time to create. According to research, we need 18 to 254 days to form a stable habit. Good news is that habits form faster when we do them more often. So, start with something reasonable that is really easy to do and do it every day. If you want to build up six-packs, start with 10 sit ups daily. Once it feels easy, increase the load to 20 sit ups. Add the intensity gradually, but practice daily. This way it won’t be long before you have developed the abs of your dreams!
Be kind to yourself
Some actions yield immediate results. Other aims such as weight loss or learning a new language take time. Don’t be discouraged and don’t be hard on yourself if you overeat one day or miss your language class. Remember that rewards help us form habits better. So instead of punishing and blaming yourself for not achieving your daily goal, try rewarding yourself for achieving it. For example, listen to your favourite song after you have done your language homework. Or watch a movie at the end of the week when you have reached all your calories intake/burn targets.