Building Better Habits in the New Year

If you’re like me, you’re all about building better habits in your life.  Our habits have the power to shape our futures and determine our success or failure in life.

All that is well and good, but how do you actually go about building better habits in your life?

Here are a few tips to help you in building better habits this year!

Understand that a Habit is Something You Do Frequently

How Building Better Habits can Change Your Life

To become a habit, you have to do it over and over again until it becomes second nature.

So, an activity or action won’t be a habit just because you decide to make it a habit.  That’s a start, but it’s not enough.

Some scientists say it takes at least 21 days of consistency to build a new habit. 21 days!

So, if you want something to become a habit,  force yourself to make it happen for at least every day for three weeks.

The more you do it, the easier it gets.

Right now, I have a new dog, and we’re doing obedience training with her.

I can’t just teach her something once and assume she’ll understand “come” and “stay” or “sit”. No.

I have to repeat it over and over again, several times a day, with rewards, to get that to stick. The same is true of humans of all ages.

Focus on Why You’re Building Better Habits

Keep in mind why you are doing what you’re doing. Think about why you want it to be a habit in your life.

Make better habits stick by remembering your why.

When the going gets tough you need to remind yourself why you’re doing this.

As with my dog training, rewards do help.

If you set up a series of rewards for your benchmarks, you’ll have a goal to look forward to.

Just make sure the better habit goal is in your control.

For example, “Exercise 15 minutes every day” is something in your control. “Lose 5 pounds this month” is not under your control.  Although exercising 15 minutes a day will help you get closer to that goal.

Find Some Accountability in Building Better Habits

If possible find someone who will hold you accountable to doing what you have set out to do. We often do better if we have someone in our lives encouraging us as we push on.

Sometimes we can find accountability online too. There are apps for all kinds of habits you’re trying to build. There are also Facebook groups and forums too.

I have found, as strange as my husband finds it, habit trackers help me with building better habits.

Just knowing I have to check off that box at the end of the day makes me have more resolve.

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Break It Down Into Baby Steps and Small Bites

How Building Better Habits can Change Your Life

I have a friend that likes to say, “You eat an elephant one bite at a time”.

Well, to get anything in your life done, you have to take small bites.

You can’t do it all at once.

Let me explain this idea using exercise as an example.  You cannot expect to go from sofa spud to running a half marathon within a month. You have to slowly build towards it. If you don’t exercise at all right now, you would need to work on starting to exercise.  Just because you think you “should” exercise an hour a day, doesn’t mean you can start at an hour per day. Perhaps you should first build the habit of any exercise at all daily.

Make sense?

And this applies to any aspect of building better habits. It’s not just about exercise.

Take small bites. It’s better to build a habit slowly than to achieve some sort of ideal sporadically.

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