Learning how to develop new habits can be life changing especially when they are healthy, productive habits. Habits make life easier, but how do we form them? How do we change them? And how do we go about keeping them?
What is the first thing you do after you wake up in the morning? Maybe you check your phone, or you get out of bed to brush your teeth. Whatever it is, you might not think twice about it.
Habits are learned behaviors that become a part of your routine over time. They can be subconscious. And habits are not always good.
Yet some of the most successful people attribute their success to their routine. Motivation may be what gets you started, but habits are what keep you going to reach your goals. Successful people take the time to integrate good habits into their life.
To change your life, you can change your habits. Habits do not have to be large changes in order to have an impact. You can also integrate small, good habits into your routine.
These habits might seem small or insignificant, but they can carry into your life in unexpected ways.
My Daily Habits
I am the type of person who thrives on routines. Maybe to a fault but it keeps my life in order and home and work. Here are some of my daily habits that I formed over the past decade of owning my own business and raising 6 children:
- Morning Habits/Routines – wake up before everyone else, eat two fried eggs and coffee with my husband before he leaves for work, work on business tasks for about one hour, wake kids up, give them breakfast and make lunches, drive them to school
- Later Morning Habits/Routines – exercise for 15 minutes, grocery shop or run a few errands (before all where in school this time also included entertaining little ones)
- work a few hours total (best time of day for me), hot lunch super early (I love to eat lunch at 11:00 am or sometimes even earlier)
- Afternoon Habits/Routines – I need serious help in this area. This is when my bad habits creep in. I land up randomly going down the black hole of the internet about work issues. I snack a ton because I start to get tired.
- Later Afternoon Habits/Routines – Put on a chauffer hat and drive kids everywhere or grab a chair and watch sporting events.
- Evening – Make Dinner and drink a glass of red wine (this is one of my favorite habits that I have no plans of quitting)
- After Dinner – Go to bed early with big dreams that I will accomplish everything else tomorrow.
So as you can see there are plenty of areas where my habits are going strong especially in the morning. But after lunch I have horrible habits that I need to change.
Examples of How to Develop New Habits
When you first start out you need to start small. When we have success, it is easy to continue with the habits. My plan is to start changing my afternoon routine. If you have not started any habits yet, here are some simple examples of where to start.
Implement these habits into your routine to change your life:
Make your bed. Starting your day by making your bed is one of the simplest habits to integrate into your daily routine. You reward yourself by starting the day off with an easy win. That simple accomplishment can subconsciously act as a domino effect as you generate other wins throughout your day.
Set a goal. At the beginning of your day, set a small goal. You can also set goals for the week, month or year. Setting goals regularly guides you with a reminder of how you want to live each day. Try these Believe Achieve Succeed goal cards to get started.
Practice gratitude. Studies have shown that when we practice gratitude, our brains release dopamine. Gratitude helps shift your mind to positive thoughts, which can help you feel more positive. At the end of the day, write down three things you are grateful to help you learn how to develop new habits.
Exercise. When you exercise, your body releases chemicals that relieve stress and spark euphoria. In addition to being a natural antidepressant, exercise also builds your confidence. To build your confidence and happiness, make it a habit to exercise each day.
Express gratitude to others. When you express gratitude towards others, you strengthen the connection you have with them. Write a thank you letter to a mentor who has guided you in the past or to someone who made an impact on your life. After you spend time with someone, send them a message thanking them for their time and include one specific thing you loved about that time.
Read. Just like exercise builds your physical muscles, reading builds your brain’s muscles. Reading consistently builds your ability to focus, concentrate, and remember things.
Switch to positive language. Practice using positive language, from your self-talk to the things you say to others. Start with positive affirmations each morning or before bed.
Pay attention to the negative things you say to yourself. Would you speak that way to a friend? Speak to yourself more positively too!
Take the stairs. In a digital age where most of us are tied to our computers, choose the option that gets you moving! Take the stairs instead of the elevator. When you need to run an errand, walk or bicycle to the shop.
Tips to Successfully Implement New Habits
Here are several tips to learn how to develop new habits.
Make each habit timely. For example, “make my bed daily” or “express gratitude to someone else once per week.”
Keep track of your habits. – Print a habit tracker and start logging your behaviors today. When you have to be accountable, you take action!
You will be motivated to continue as you see your progress. Your self- confidence will grow with the visual satisfaction of seeing your accomplishments on your completed habit tracker!
Avoid long breaks when building a new habit. If you have a habit you want to do daily and you miss one day, do your best not to let yourself miss two days.
Be compassionate with yourself. If you forget to exercise one day, avoid beating yourself up! Learn to be compassionate and understanding of yourself.
Find an accountability buddy. You are more likely to stick to your habits if you have someone holding you accountable. Find someone to hold you accountable or support you throughout your journey!
Reward yourself. Rewarding yourself as you hit milestones will help you enjoy the process.
You don’t have to make drastic changes – like starting a new career – to change your life. The small changes when you learn how to develop new habits can make a huge impact!