I'm going to eat all of my favorite things and then start fresh tomorrow! I'll start on the elliptical for thirty minutes a day and once I'm comfortable I'll start "working out". On Monday I'm going to turn it all around! I'll do this diet to get a jumpstart and then I'll change my lifestyle. Does any of this sound familiar? I get it. We've all been there, we've all tried it, sometimes it's worked for a while and then it doesn't.
It is time to make small, lasting changes. The key is to choosing small things and making it SO easy that you can't say no! Here's three simple steps to small, lasting healthy habits!
Step 1: Reminder (the trigger that initiates the behavior)
Step 2: Routine (the behavior itself; the action you take)
Step 3: Reward (the benefit you gain from doing the behavior)
Step 1: Set a Reminder for Your New Habit
Picking the correct reminder for your new habit is the first step to making change easier.
What are habits you already have?
- Brushing your teeth
- Taking a shower
- Flushing the toilet
- Eating Dinner
- Plugging in your cell phone
- Getting into bed
- Drinking coffee
- These actions serve as great reminders!
- Other things that happen without fail:
- Traffic light turns red.
- You get a text message.
- A commercial comes on TV.
- A song ends.
- The sun sets.
These serve as great reminders!
Say that your new habit is to be happier. You will say "when a traffic light turns red I'll say three things that I am thankful for". Or that you want to add stretching to your daily routine, you'll say "after I brush my teeth I will spend five minutes stretching."
Step 2: Choose a Habit That’s Incredibly Easy to Start
If you want to start a new habit and begin living healthier and happier, then I have one suggestion that I cannot emphasize enough: start small. In the words of Leo Babauta, “make it so easy that you can’t say no.”
In the beginning, performance doesn’t matter. Become the type of person who always sticks to your new habit. You can build up to the level of performance that you want once the behavior becomes consistent.
Here’s your action step: Decide what want your new habit to be. Now ask yourself, “How can I make this new behavior so easy to do that I can’t say no?”
What is Your Reward?
It’s important to celebrate. (I think that’s just as true in life as it is with habits.)
We want to continue doing things that make us feel good. And because an action needs to be repeated for it to become a habit, it’s especially important that you reward yourself each time you practice your new habit.
It’s all a process, my friend.