10 Tips to Building Habits that Stick

The one secret to success is building a habit. Once you have that down you are set. That is the one secret that I teach in the Silver Wellness Academy.

You want to know the habit you are building is successful! You don't want to waste your time either. So today we are talking about how to build a habit and make it stick.

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Here are 10 tips to building habits that stick:

1. Identify the right habits and commit to them.

It's easy to just say you want to start a new habit. But how will you commit to it? What needs to be done? Do you need to wake up at a certain time? How often will you commit to this new habit? 

Be careful with commitment. You can overcommit. You can also under-commit.

Write this commitment down. Promise yourself you will commit.

2. Have a plan.

If you have a plan and you know exactly what you are going to do it's way more likely you will stick to it.

Here are some examples of plans:

  • Do you want to eat healthier? Set up a meal plan with healthy dishes, veggie snacks, and delicious smoothies. Create a shopping list with all the ingredients you need and plan when exactly you will be going grocery shopping.
  • Do you want to work out consistently? Then set up a workout plan! Define exactly which workouts you will be doing.
  • Do you want to wake up earlier? Create a specific plan about what exactly you’re going to do with these extra hours.

And then, transfer your game plan into your agenda or set up a recurring task on your Google Calendar with a reminder, so you remember to do this new habit.

3. Set up a trigger and reward.

This is classical conditioning at its finest. You know dog training. You don't just tell your dog to sit and expect him to do so. No. you say, "Sit." (clue) he sits down (the activity) and you give him a treat (reward).

The activity is the actual habit itself. You have a trigger set up that reminds you do the habit. Then you perform the habit and reward yourself for performing the habit.

Examples of triggers and rewards are:

  • After dinner, you immediately wash your dishes so they don’t pile up
  • Right before you go to sleep, you take a moment to plan out the next day
  • When your alarm goes off, you know it’s time for your daily workout
  • After your morning yoga session, you take some time to reflect and journal

4. Make it convenient to do your daily habits.

Set yourself up for success. Put everything ready the night before so that starting the task the next day doesn’t require any prep work. You’re basically removing all potential obstacles that are in between you and doing the work.

Some examples:

  • I like to make my workout drinks the night before so they are ready to go. My pre-workout gets me out of bed in the morning!
  • Layout your clothes for the next day
  • Write your to-do list for the next day and have it handy. I like Notion for this!

 5. Remind yourself why this daily habit is so important.

Why is this daily habit that important and impactful to you? How will your life change when you do this habit on a consistent basis?

If you’re a visual person, it can really help to create a vision board that is directly related to the daily habits you are trying to create.

Don’t just put inspirational quotes or beautiful sunsets on your vision board, but make it as concrete and specific as possible.

Are you trying to save money for that vacation this summer? Then put a picture of the specific vacation spot you are wanting to visit on your vision board.

Get your mental diet resource guide here! It'll remind you why thought habits are so important to be aware of!!!

 

6. Use a habit tracker.

Keep yourself accountable by using a habit tracker. Either you can draw it on a piece of paper and stick on to the fridge, in your bullet journal, or use an app on your phone.

No matter how you track your habits, it can really help you to visualize your progress by crossing off every day you have completed the habit.

And it’s also just so satisfying to cross off those days and see this chain appear that becomes longer and longer as you continue to do the habit on a daily basis. It prevents you from skipping a day because that would mean that you would break the chain. You got this! 😎

7. Find an accountability partner.

Don’t underestimate accountability. It can be extremely powerful.

Find someone that keeps you accountable and checks in with you on a regular basis, to check if you’re still keeping up with your habits. This doesn’t necessarily have to be a person that is close to you, this can also be someone online with similar goals.

Even better if you can find someone with who you can do the task together. A running partner or a study buddy can be really motivating since you won’t feel alone in this journey.

8. Focus on tiny daily habits.

James Clear of Atomic Habits suggests setting a habit that is so easy and tiny that you don’t need any motivation to do it. For example, setting a habit to put on your workout clothes and doing 5 push-ups on daily basis. This habit is so tiny and accomplishable in less than 5 minutes that it won’t trigger as much resistance.

And in the majority of the cases, after doing these 5 push-ups, you will probably end up doing some other exercises as well or maybe a complete workout.

9. Change your inner beliefs and lifestyle.

Really immerse yourself in this habit.

Read about it, research it, watch documentaries about it.

Even with tiny daily habits such as taking your vitamins, you can research what effects taking vitamins on a daily basis can have on a long-term basis.

Or which successful people wake up at the same time you want to wake up and what they have accomplished because of this change.

Really making the habit part of how you perceive yourself is just extremely powerful and will make daily habits stick way more easily.

10. Focus on the system.

Imagine, you set this ultimate goal to reach your dream weight with little mini weight goals every month. This is awesome! But from the moment you have reached your dream weight, you think ‘goal accomplished’ and you quit that habit. And a few months later, your weight starts increasing again, and suddenly, you’re back at square one.

To avoid this from happening, it’s way more sustainable in the long term to focus on the system itself instead.

Focus on how energized these healthy dishes make you feel or how satisfied you feel after an intense workout. Focusing on the system itself will make you achieve your goals inevitably.

But instead of always focusing on the future, you’re focusing on the present moment and truly enjoying the journey.

BONUS: Don't give up!

 There will be days where doing your habits will be extremely difficult and days where it goes super easily. Days where you are incredibly motivated and days where you can bang your head against the wall. Nonetheless, independently if you feel happy, sad, angry, you just have to do the damn daily habit, unconditionally.

Your motivation goes up and down during your journey, but discipline is the thing that gets you started. Your motivation often comes when you are already in the middle of doing your habit.

Read this blog post on how to cultivate discipline here!

Prepare yourself mentally for different scenarios that might happen that can demotivate you to do the work. What if you’re extremely tired? What if you just received some bad news? What if it’s raining outside? What if you have had a super busy day? When you know in advance what your potential obstacles are, you can anticipate these and take strategic action to overcome them.

If you would only do the habit when you truly felt like it, you would never be able to build this habit in the first place.

Don’t expect perfection. It’s normal that once in a while, life happens and you skipped a day. And that’s OK. Then you just get back on track and try again the next day. What you don’t want to do is just give up and quit the habit altogether. So you can skip once exceptionally but try not to skip twice.

Building a true habit takes about 60 days. Fall in love with the journey as well as the destination. Because in life it's always something. You got this! 

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