Forming new habits is probably one of the hardest things to do. We all have those moments when we wish we could do something. Whether it be working out, reading for leisure, journaling, etc. On average, it takes more than 2 months before a new behavior becomes automatic — 66 days to be exact. It can take anywhere from 18 days to 254 days for people to form a new habit according to jamesclear.com (click link to read more).
I remember having my daughter and although I was so happy to be a mom I just could not come to terms with the changes that pregnancy made to my body (the weight gain to be specific). However, it took me FOREVER to actually encourage myself to do something about it. When my daughter was six months old I got to a point where I was fed up, and I was going to do whatever it took to make it happen. I sacrificed sleep in the beginning, and later got a better routine going so I could more sleep. I got up at 5:15 am Monday through Friday to go workout in a HIIT class with a personal trainer. This was probably one of the toughest challenges, but before I knew it waking up at 5:15 am was a piece of cake! It didn’t happen over a night, but it was well worth the wait.
I have put together seven steps to help you form new habits. Of course these steps can be expanded upon, but if you keep these in mind I promise you it will make your life and whole lot easier. and make things seem a little more tangible! It’s time to stop procrastinating and start making the necessary changes to live the life you want to live. I won’t say it’s easy because it’s not, but with consistency you can literally do anything.
Here are the seven steps:
1.) Schedule your time realistically
Complete a time audit to determine exactly how you are spending your time, how long tasks normally take, and to track distractions. (Download your FREE Time Audit Worksheet HERE). The goal is to be able to put together a realistic schedule so that at the end of the day you don’t have a laundry list of things you DIDN’T complete.
2.) Challenge yourself by putting distractions temporarily out of reach to see how much more you can accomplish.
This was really hard for me, because I ALWAYS have my phone with me. However, I have to admit that it is a HUGE distraction for me. Whether it’s your phone, tablet, or computer, try putting it away. Even if it’s just for 30 minutes at a time, I guarantee you’ll get more done.
3.) Manage your interruptions
Some interruptions are unavoidable, so it’s important to remain flexible so you can quickly get back to work. Don’t let a five minute phone call take up your afternoon. If a phone call comes in that is not important simply reschedule the call for later.
4.) Break down tasks into manageable chunks.
One of my goals is to start back reading for leisure. I am currently taking online classes, and because I have to read so much for school I have not made time to read some of the books of my choice. I have decided to change that! One of the easiest ways for me to do that is to decide how much I will read at a time. If I have a few minutes I will read a chapter during the day and read before going to bed since that is very relaxing for me. I am sure not to overwhelm myself by saying I am going to read a book in two days. Instead I break the book into sections and read what I can when I can.
5.) Start small!
You definitely don’t want to overwhelm yourself, so make time for what you can and try not to feel pressured when you can’t finish an entire project when you thought you would. If your goal is to become more active, then start going walking two to three times a week. You don’t have to go everyday and you don’t have to run a marathon when you decide to go. If you want to become more organized, don’t feel like you have to organize your entire house right away! Simply organize a room each day or week, and go from there. The goal is to figure out what works for you now, then to expand on that.
6.) Reward your progress.
This is one is my favorite. ;) Rewarding yourself is VERY important, and we often forget to. Set a short term goal and reward yourself for getting there! After all you are a step farther from where you began, and a step closer to where you want to be. It doesn’t have to be anything extravagant. Just do something nice for yourself. This is a great way to get more in tune with yourself instead of always depending on others to reward you. No need to wait on someone when you can do it yourself.
7.) Lastly, expect setbacks
Let’s face it, you are going to experience set backs, and thats ok we all do. However, you can’t let it define you. Be on the lookout for the temptations that have potential to pull you off course and work to develop strategies to overcome them. Setbacks are completely normal, and what really counts is how you overcome them.
I hope these seven quick steps help you learn to focus and get on track. Remember, do what works for you. Nothing happens overnight, that’s why we have to be consistent. It won’t be easy, but I promise it is well worth it.