Habits are a part of what makes people who they are. They propel people toward success or lead them in a less desirable direction.
To some extent, it can be said that a person’s habits determine the course of their life.
For example, a healthy habit of frequent exercise will affect a person’s mental and physical health positively throughout the course of their life. Whereas a habit of partying at all hours of the night will affect them negatively.
Thus, what are some ways that people can encourage the development of good habits to put them on a positive life path? Let’s find out.
1. Ease Into It
An effective method for building a healthy habit is to start small. Make the habit so easy it’s hard to say no.
For example, for those who want to eat healthier, commit to one healthy meal a week. Those who want to exercise more might commit to 5 minutes of exercise a day. Neither of those feels too hard or overwhelming. The habit can be further built from there. Obviously staying small won’t have a huge impact on a person’s life, but starting small is an excellent way to encourage these positive changes.
2. Understand Personal Challenges
In the course of building new, good habits, many people are also trying to break old, bad habits. For example, an individual may be trying to change the way they deal with stress by hitting the gym rather than a bar after work.
Some days this will be easy. It might not be quite so easy after a particularly stressful day at work. People need to identify and understand what those weak moments are for them and prepare themselves ahead of time to handle them.
3. Create Accountability
Another excellent way for people to help themselves charge towards their goals is to create accountability. For some people, advertising their new diet or commitment to greener living on social media creates enough accountability. It also has the bonus of potentially inspiring others to create positive new habits as well.
Other people may need accountability that is a bit stronger. For example, by signing up for team sports or finding a workout partner who is expecting to go to the gym after work. It’s harder to skip out on a workout session when other people are involved.
4. Make Room for Failure
Some people take an all-or-nothing approach to building a new habit. The problem with this mindset is that it leaves no room for failure. And the reality is that most people will fail (or partially fail) a few times on their journey.
An excellent response to failure is that it won’t happen twice in a row. So, say an individual building an exercise habit misses a workout. They can accept what happened and plow ahead ensuring they don’t miss a second. Or they can feel defeated and disappointed in themselves, missing the next workout too and taking themselves off the path to a better habit.
5. Change the Environment
An individual’s environment plays a heavy role in their ability to successfully build a new habit. For example, if clean eating is the goal but the pantry is full of snacks and junk food, it won’t take long before the temptation is too much to resist.
Sometimes changing the environment also means stepping away from certain people and forming new relationships with people of a different mindset. Depending on who the poor influencers are, this can be a real challenge but also one of the best catalysts for change.
6. Write a Journal
It’s kind of an odd thing, but people seem to have short memories when it comes to positive things and long ones with the negatives. For example, the dark cloud of their failures will plague them for far longer than the glow of their successes.
Individuals can combat this phenomenon by recording their progress in a journal. Keep a record of both their failures (and the lessons learned) and their successes. Reviewing this frequently helps keep the positive aspects of their journey fresh in their mind as well as the lessons learned from their failures.
7. Celebrate Milestones
Finally, don’t be afraid to celebrate victories and milestones, no matter how small. For someone looking to live a greener life, this might be something small like finally remembering to bring their cloth bags to the grocery store or something bigger like starting a compost bin. Regardless, each step in a positive direction is cause for celebration.
Of course, always choose a way to celebrate that doesn’t cause backsliding. Celebrating a week straight of healthy meals with a candy bar may not be the best method.
Developing and Maintaining Good Habits
The most important thing to remember on this journey is to never give up. Consistency is key and though setbacks are inevitable, an individual’s response to them is far more important.
Looking for more tips and advice? Don’t hesitate to check out more of our blog posts!