It’s February 25th. I’m sure you made some New Year’s Resolutions at the beginning of 2019. How are you doing? Crushing them? Have you already thrown in the towel? Creating good habits is HARD.
The most successful way to create good habits is to make it EASY to do the things you should do. Let’s say you want to start eating at home more. Well then, on the weekend you should plan out a few meals you want to make in the upcoming week. Next you should go online and order your groceries. Going to the grocery store often results in purchasing items you don’t need. Finally, I suggest you make cooking fun. Play some music or invite a friend to come over to cook with you!
Another example is working out. First and foremost figure out what time of the day works the best for YOU. Some like to wake up and get right to it. Others find it best to go in the evening or on a lunch hour. Another best practice is to prepare for your work out. Have your clothes, ear buds, shoes, etc ready to go. Either leave them next to your bed (morning workout) or pack them in a bag and put that bag in your car (afternoon/evening workout). Make it as easy as possible to get going. Accountability is key! If you have a workout buddy or a trainer waiting at the gym for you you’re much more likely to show up.
If you’d like to start studying more effectively, you should determine the time and place. Schedule it on your planner as if it were a meeting. Make your study place somewhere you WANT to be. It should be functional and comfortable.
Checking in on your finances may not be your favorite activity, but it SHOULD be done. Time and place are important for this one too. Put it on your calendar and have an inviting place to work. A Money Buddy is a great idea too! Have someone you can report back to on your progress. They can celebrate your successes and help steer you back when you get off track.
There are a few overall techniques that may help you create good habits:
- Don’t wait to “be in the mood”. If you’re scheduled to do something, do it.
- Give it 10 minutes. Just commit to doing it for 10 minutes. If you really want to quit after that, you can. Most likely you’ll have some momentum going and will just want to power through.
- Make it a game! Put a gold star sticker on your calendar for every day to stick to your plan. Trust me, you’ll like to see those stars. Maybe after 20 stars you give yourself a reward?
- Focus on ADDING good goals, rather than SUBTRACTING bad ones. If you concentrate on the positive, you’ll start to repeat that good behavior.
- Post your successes (and failures) on social media. This will enhance your accountability. Plus you may inspire others to start good habits!
- Start telling yourself and others “I’m the kind of person who ________”. Likes to eat at home. Works out regularly. Studies a little every day. Is conscientious about my money. By saying this out loud, you’ll naturally start behaving like a person who ________.
Good Luck! This is going to require work, effort and intentionality, but you CAN do it!