The decision to change your life is a simple one. If you don’t like how you’re living or what has come of your future, you just decide to change it. But acting on that decision is a whole other ball game.
I believe that in order to change your life it starts with changing a lot of little things about your life.
Because the little things add up my friends.
These “little things” might seem like not a big deal now but they are most likely what got you to where you are. Now, what are these little things?
We’ve grown so used to doing them that we don’t see them as affecting our life in a negative way. But they do, and in order to change our life we have to first change our habits.
So today I’m giving you some tips on how to start building better habits so you can start building a better life!
Three Tips To Start Building Better Habits
TIP #1: PIN POINT THE BAD HABITS
I put this one first because you can’t add a bunch of good without first getting rid of the bad. Yes, we want to build good habits. But in order to do that we need to stop some of the bad ones. But here is the thing, what is bad for one might not necessarily be bad for the other.
So, I want you to think about your own life, where you are at and what you don’t like about it. Do you feel in a slump right now? Why? I’m not asking to send you into a downward spiral but to get you reflecting inward.
Here is an example: If you don’t like how out of shape you are I want you to pinpoint a habit that helped you get that way. For me it was the habit of waking up late and never having the time in the morning to work out.
Once you’ve figured out the habit that got you there, replace it with a good one. So in the example above I’d switch that habit to wake up at 7am every morning and do some kind of exercise!
I’ve now pinpointed something about my current situation I didn’t like and replaced it with a solution; a habit that will help me to change!
Now, your turn!
TIP #2: START SMALL (DON’T TRY AND CHANGE YOUR LIFE IN A DAY)
I think the tendency when we get on this “I’m going to change my life!” kick is to go big or go home. We have these big dreams and big goals and make these elaborate plans to get there. (Just me?) But the “plan” is so different than the way we were living before it makes it hard to completely switch over!
For instance, (staying on the fitness example) if we haven’t worked out in a year but decide we want to get in shape and start with an hour workout a day of intense cardio, it is likely we won’t build that habit. Why? Because going from no exercise and being out of shape to 1 hour a day is a huge difference in routine and much harder to keep up with.
However, if we start with 20 mins of walking or running a day (depending how far out of shape you are) and continue to complete that we will not only build momentum from that but we are building the habit of getting up and starting to work out.
You see, the amount of time isn’t the habit you are building. The habit is the action you take to get up and start working out. So once you’ve created the habit of exercise it doesn’t really matter how long you do it for, the amount of time becomes less important than the act of just getting up and starting it.
I’ve used the fitness example but this is true for all things.
If you want to start building a habit of writing don’t plan off the bat to write 2-3 hours a day. Instead start small at maybe a half hour or forty five minutes. Make it an amount of time you can easily complete so that you start building the habit. Then you can up the amount of time once the habit is formed. Because once you’ve got the habit of action down the time goal will be easier to complete.
Start small, end big!
TIP #3: MAKE IT A NON-NEGOTIABLE
Google the definition of habit and this is what you’ll find: a settled or regular tendency or practice, especially one that is hard to give up.
Take note of that last part, “one that is hard to give up”.
The worst thing about bad habits is that they are hard to give up. But this is actually great news for building good habits! The goal is to get your good habits to the point of actually being hard for you to give up. (Not that you’d want to!) But in order to get them there you have to make them a non-negotiable!
I’m sure you’ve heard that magic number of 21 days to build a habit. But recently they’ve found that the real number of days it takes to build a habit varies greatly per person.
So the amount of days you need to complete an action before it becomes a habit will depend on you and your circumstances but if you want a starting point I’d say do it for 21 days at least!
Now, that doesn’t mean that after 21 days you can take a bunch of days off or not worry about being as strict. These actions should be non-negotiable always and that is how they will become a habit, 21 days is just the beginning.
How do you know if it’s become a habit?
You’ll know it’s a habit when you stop automatically thinking of reasons why you don’t have to do it whenever you are going to start. When something is a habit you move other things in order to complete it. Not the other way around. Once your mind stops automatically trying to get you out of it, that’s a sign it’s probably become a routine for you.
And in that case, congrats! You’ve done it!
Whoo! That was 1,000 words worth of good habits! I hope it helps and encourages you! Like I said, it can be so exciting to start making changes to change your life but you can also get ahead of yourself and end up sabotaging yourself before you even begin!
So make sure to start small and build on from there. There is an awesome quote out there I love about habits that says “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence then, is not an act, but a habit.” I think I’ve even quoted it on this blog before but it’s so good and I think something to hold on to as you make changes to better your life!
I’m cheering you on friends! Good luck!