Are you trying to create a new habit, but struggling to make it stick? You’re not alone. According to research, 40% of people who set out to create a new habit will fail within the first week. And it gets even harder from there. Fewer than 10% of people who attempt to form a new habit are successful in the long term.
So what’s the secret to creating lasting habits? It’s not as difficult as you might think. Just follow these ten steps and you’ll be on your way to forming healthy habits that will help you achieve your fitness goals.
1. Pick One Habit at a Time
When you’re first starting out, it’s important to focus on one habit at a time. Trying to change too many things at once is overwhelming and sets you up for failure. So pick one habit that you want to focus on and stick with it until it becomes second nature.
Habit stacking is a great way to start. This means picking a new habit that you can easily do after an existing one. For example, if you already brush your teeth every morning, you could add flossing to your routine by saying to yourself, “After I brush my teeth, I will floss.”
Picking one habit also allows you to focus all of your attention on making that one change. And the more successful you are at forming that habit, the more confidence you’ll have to tackle another one.
2. Set a Specific Goal
When it comes to creating lasting habits, setting specific goals is key. Vague goals like “I want to eat healthier” or “I want to exercise more” are too easy to brush off. But if you set a specific goal, like “I will eat three servings of vegetables every day” or “I will go for a 30-minute walk every day,” it’s much easier to stick to.
Not only should your goal be specific, but it should also be achievable. If you’re starting from scratch, setting an ambitious goal like “I will run a marathon” is probably not realistic. But if you break it down into smaller goals, like “I will run for 30 minutes three times a week,” it becomes much more manageable.
It’s also important to set a deadline for your goal. This could be a specific date, like “I will eat three servings of vegetables every day for the next month,” or it could be more general, like “I will eat three servings of vegetables every day until I reach my goal weight.” Having a deadline helps to keep you accountable and motivated.
3. Make a Plan
Once you’ve set your goal, it’s time to make a plan. This means figuring out exactly how you’re going to achieve your goal. For example, if your goal is to eat three servings of vegetables every day, you’ll need to figure out what those three servings are going to look like.
One way to do this is to meal plan. Decide in advance what you’re going to eat for each meal and make sure you have the necessary ingredients on hand. This will make it much easier to stick to your goal when you’re feeling hungry and don’t have time to cook a healthy meal from scratch.
Another way to make a plan is to schedule your workouts. If you know you’re going to work out at 6 am on Tuesday and Thursday, you’re much less likely to hit the snooze button and stay in bed.
Making a plan takes the guesswork out of trying to form a new habit and sets you up for success.
4. Start Small
When you’re first starting out, it’s important to start small. This means setting a goal that you know you can achieve. For example, if your goal is to eat three servings of vegetables every day, you might start by only eating one serving a day for the first week. Then you can gradually increase your intake until you reach your goal.
Starting small also applies to goals like exercising more or taking a new fitness class. If you’re not used to working out, starting with a 30-minute walk is much more achievable than signing up for a spin class. And once you’ve built up some momentum, you can gradually increase the intensity of your workouts.
5. Find a Support System
When you’re trying to form a new habit, it’s important to find a support system. This could be family or friends who are also trying to make a change, or it could be an online community of like-minded people.
Having a support system will help to keep you accountable and motivated. It’s also a great way to get advice and tips from people who are going through the same thing as you.
6. Be Patient
Finally, it’s important to be patient when you’re trying to form a new habit. It takes time to create lasting change, so don’t expect results overnight. Just focus on taking things one day at a time and trust that the results will come in due time.
Patience is critical when forming new habits. Remember that it takes time to create lasting change, so don’t expect results overnight. Just focus on taking things one day at a time and trust that the results will come in due time.
7. Reward Yourself
When you reach milestones in your journey to creating lasting habits, be sure to reward yourself. This could be something small, like taking a day off from your workout routine, or something bigger, like buying yourself a new piece of workout gear.
Rewarding yourself is a great way to stay motivated and on track. It also helps to create positive associations with the new habit you’re trying to form. So go ahead and treat yourself—you deserve it!
8. Stay Flexible
It’s important to stay flexible when you’re trying to create lasting habits. This means being willing to adjust your goals and plans as needed.
For example, if you’re trying to eat more vegetables but find that you’re struggling to do so, try changing up your approach. Instead of having three servings a day, try having two. Or if you’re finding it hard to stick to your workout routine, try switching things up and trying a new type of exercise.
The key is to find what works for you and then adjust accordingly. There’s no one-size-fits-all approach to creating lasting habits, so don’t be afraid to experiment until you find something that works.
Creating lasting habits is a process that takes time and effort. But if you’re patient and willing to put in the work, you’ll be well on your way to achieving your fitness goals. So don’t give up—keep moving forward one day at a time, and soon enough you’ll reach your goal.
How long does it take to form a new habit?
It takes about 21 days to form a new habit. However, this number can vary depending on the person and the complexity of the habit.
What are some common mistakes people make when trying to create lasting habits?
Some common mistakes include starting too big, not starting small enough, not having a support system, and not being patient.
What are some tips for staying motivated when forming new habits?
Some tips for staying motivated include setting realistic goals, rewarding yourself for reaching milestones, and staying flexible.