3 Ways to Make Your New Habit Stick

 

By the time May rolls around, we’re well past the point of New Years resolutions, and on the cusp of summer. With thoughts of sundresses, shorts, and bikinis, many people embrace a second wave of health and fitness motivation. But after the “want,” there’s the “do.”

Research has shown that a staggering 92% of people do NOT achieve their goals. This blog will offer strategies for making the transition from goal to action. While I focus on the fitness/wellness industries, you can apply these principles to any field, any time!


1- Pair with an Existing Habit

It’s a LOT easier to link a new behavior with one you’ve already established than to start with a blank slate.

Here’s an example: Let’s say your goal is to do 10 push-ups each morning. If you already make coffee each morning, you can set your coffee maker and spend the brewing time doing your push-ups.  In this way, you’re not creating something from scratch, but drawing on your existing routine.

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2- Set Reasonable, Evolving Goals

There are two major points to consider here:

a- If you aim too high too fast, you’ll discourage yourself

b- if you aim too low, you’ll end up getting bored or making excuses (e.g. since I can do __ easily now, i can afford to skip a morning) 

I recommend setting goals in stages. Let’s say your goal is to run a certain distance. Maybe you start by planning to run 10 minutes each morning for one week. Week 2, you add 5 more minutes; Week 3, you add 10 more minutes- and so on. This way you start small so you don’t get discouraged, but iteratively add more layers of challenge to stay motivated – and avoid a plateau.

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3- Create Your Own Carrot and Stick

For those unfamiliar with this terminology, it draws from the psychology of operant conditioning. Basically we reward behavior we want to continue (carrot), and “punish” behavior we want to stop (stick).

How does this apply to new exercise regimens?  This is kind of a choose-your-own-adventure area- which is why it works!

Think of a way to treat yourself before or after (I’d recommend after) your desired behavior. Let’s say your goal is to go for a 10-minute run each morning. Each day you accomplish that goal, maybe you treat yourself to something special. It can be a particularly delicious breakfast, Starbucks, Happy Hour – your choice!  In contrast, when you do not meet your goal, find something you can reasonably withhold from your routine (maybe the flipside of your “reward”).

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In sum, if you have the goal, you’ve completed the hardest part.  The next step – taking the plunge – but strategically.  Follow my 3 steps, and you’ll find yourself soaring to success in no time!

-JW

 

Author Bio:
I am an eRYT-200 yoga teacher and NASM-CPT personal trainer with a Masters of Arts in Social Ecology.  My goal is to educate busy individuals on ways to comfortably fit health & wellness into their schedules.  Contact me by email at jennyswanyoga@gmail.com or through any of my social media channels (@jennyswanyoga).

 

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