We all know how difficult it is to change your habits. Here are five ways to make it possible for you.
Create a goal, not a resolution
Be sure to set up your goal to be small, simple and specific. Resolutions are declarations that you want to find a new job or lose weight, while goals are more specific, measurable, actionable, realistic and time-bound. A goal is saying you are going to cut your calorie intake to 2500 calories a day or saying you will apply to five jobs each week. These statements turn your resolutions into goals. Also, don’t feel pressured to start your goal before you are ready. You are committed to positive change and you must feel ready to do the work. Be willing to delay your new goal until you’re prepared to take action.
Write down your goals and establish some short-term objectives for each
Attainable objectives can keep you on track with milestones, such as losing two pounds a week on your way to losing 25. People who put their goals on paper are more likely to achieve them than those who don’t. If you visualize yourself successfully achieving the goal, you are significantly more certain to make your goal a habit.
Ask someone to be your “accountability buddy”
Think of a friend who would be willing to observe your behavior. Then, ask them to support you by noticing when you are working on your goal and giving you supportive feedback every so often. This holds you accountable to another person (in addition to you), and your friend will be honored by your request.
Track your progress with rewards for each small success
Make them physical with motivational sticky notes, or a wall calendar where you can check off each time you went to the gym or when you’ve practiced the new behavior.
Plan ahead for times when you lack motivation
There will be times when you don’t feel like making the change and when you feel like giving up. Prepare for these moments by listing all the reasons to stick to your goal. Try modifying your environment by leaving your gym shoes next to the bed to make it easier to run in the mornings. You know you can handle any setbacks during your journey to making your goals into habits. Recall the times you’ve made changes happen before, and know that you can do this again. We all have a little voice in our heads that is very hard on us. Tell this voice to go away! When you fall down, forgive yourself and don’t give up! Every time you bounce back from a failure, you teach yourself resilience and this will serve you well for the rest of your life.