How to make new habits stick: My favourite tricks for keeping resolutions for life, not just for January……………….

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Does the fresh start which is so often associated with the beginning of this month feel like a distant memory? Is the appeal of the New Year’s resolutions wearing off as every day life takes over again?  

If so, don’t dispair.  The worst thing you can do is beat yourself up and undo all your positive work with negative emotions. 

A quick read of these tricks will help keep your resolutions alive and get you back on track. If you have already given up on some, don’t wait until next January to make new ones, re-appraise the existing ones, apply the tricks and move onwards and upwards into 2020.Link to an existing habit

1) Link to an existing habit

Performing your new habit during or immediately after an existing one will help integrate it into your daily life.  This is most useful for short activities but just because something doesn’t take long to perform doesn’t mean that it can’t have great benefits over time.  I have placed a wobble board under my bathroom sink so that everytime I clean my teeth I step onto this board and do some quick balance and leg strengthening exercises. This means 4 minutes of extra exercise every day.  

2) ask for help

Going public with your new habits and involving friends and family will massively increase your chances of carrying on.  The more people that know what you are aiming to achieve the harder it will be to let things fizzle out.  I wanted to practice more night-running so have recruited as many friends as possible to help me with this.  Instead of meeting in the pub last week I caught up with a friend in Salcey Forest (see photo above!)

3) put it in the diary

On paper, phone or laptop, it doesn’t matter but actually writing the habit down alongside daily appointments or setting reminders will help keep your new activity at the front of your mind.  I have taken to writing exactly what snacks I am going to eat and when for the following day so that I am not tempted to grab extras.

4) make a post-it note reminder

It doesn’t need to be a massive poster, just a small note placed in a strategic position stating why you started the new habit will give you an extra boost of motivation. I have posted the profile for the 100 mile race I am doing in August by the back door to remind me why I am putting my trainers on even when the weather is horrid.

5) reward yourself

Make the association between performing your new habit and feeling amazing as strong as possible by giving yourself rewards.  This shouldn’t mean extra cake, but something simple like a relaxing bath or a £1 bunch of daffodils.  Remember it’s really important to be nice to yourself!

If these quick “hacks” are still not hitting the spot and motivation is really low then try asking these two important questions as suggested by Dr Megan Rossi in her latest book (Eat Yourself Healthy); 

  1. How will I feel if I continue versus if I stop?
  2. What will my life look like in one year if I continue versus if I stop?

think forwards, think positive and enjoy your new habits, for life!