It Can Be Challenging to Create a Habit
Did you know that roughly 25% of New Year’s resolutions are abandoned by January 7? Yikes. It’s almost enough to make you skip resolutions altogether. Except that research has found those who make resolutions are over ten times more likely to have reached their goals by July 1 than those who made no resolutions at all. So how should you approach a resolution or other goal, in order to create a habit that actually sticks?
How to Create a Habit That Sticks
You can set yourself up for success by following these five very purposeful steps. Download our free worksheet to follow along!
- First, write down why creating this habit is important to you. List as many reasons as you possibly can, and then one more. And don’t just think about them. Research has shown that writing something down helps to commit it to memory. Plus, you can refer back to it when you want a reminder of why you started in the first place.
- Second, decide how you’ll reward yourself for meeting your goal. What appeals to you most, and will drive you the hardest to make your new habit stick? Make sure that your reward is in-line with your goal. For example, don’t celebrate a week of cutting sugar from your diet by eating a gallon of ice cream.
- Third, find an accountability partner, bonus points for someone that shares your goal and/or will personally benefit from your new habit. Share your goal with someone else and ask them to hold you accountable. If you can’t find someone that shares the same goal, think of someone that will benefit from your new habit. For example, when I’m on a mission to clean up my eating, I’m all about meal planning and cooking homemade meals instead of picking up fast food or take out every night. My husband loves it. It’s in his best interest to encourage my new cooking habit, so he’s a fantastic choice for an accountability partner, as long as he’s capable of some tough love.
Download our free worksheet to follow along! It provides a central location to record your motivations, reward, accountability partner, and affirmations, plus provides a handy reference to “fight thru” techniques. So get it here!
- Fourth, utilize daily affirmations. Research has shown that we can actually rewire our brains through the use of affirmations, or statements that we repeatedly tell ourselves in order to spark a change. So if I want to create a habit of exercising three times a week, I’m going to write down statements as if I already do that. “My health is a priority.” “I start every day with exercise.” “Exercise makes me feel strong and empowered.” Repeat them when you first wake up, in the middle of your day, and before going to bed at night. By repeating these statements to ourselves several times a day, we will rewire our brains to default to those thoughts. And as our thoughts shift, our actions will begin to line up with what we’re saying and thinking.
- And finally, win 2-3 “fight thrus”. Business coach Tom Bartow suggests that to create a habit that truly becomes second nature, we must face and beat 2-3 temptations. He calls these battles “fight thrus”, and suggests three techniques to win them, to be attempted in this order.
- Recognize. Acknowledge the challenge. Tell yourself, “I have entered the fight thru, and I need to win a few to move past this.”
- Ask two questions. “How will I feel if I do this?” and “How will I feel if I don’t do this?” Imagine the emotion of both winning and losing the fight thru.
- Life projection. Imagine your life in five years if you do not begin making changes. Get detailed. Get honest.
After winning several fight thrus, you’ll arrive at your destination – a positive new habit that actually sticks!
Wrap It Up
You are totally capable of creating positive new habits that stick! You simply need to write down why it’s important to you, and decide on a reward and accountability partner. Then speak your daily affirmations, use Bartow’s techniques for smashing your fight thrus, and enjoy the fruits of all your hard work.
By making a resolution at all, you’re already over ten times more likely to reach your goal than you were. The odds are already in your favor. You just have to keep the momentum going. You’ve got this!
P.S. Want to get started creating your own positive habits? Then download our free worksheet! It provides a central location to record your motivations, reward, accountability partner, and affirmations, plus provides a handy reference to “fight thru” techniques. So get it here!
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