New year, new habits | The CPSU/CSA Journal for WA Public Sector Workers

New year, new habits

It’s the beginning of a new year! If you are thinking of adding a new habit to your day to day life, you should first reflect on how you picked up your current habits and whether you can use the same skills to incorporate new behaviours into your routine. 

With a small amount of initial discipline, you can create a new habit that requires little effort to maintain. If you struggle keeping habits and need some new ideas, here are some tips to help make them stick. 

1. Commit to 30 days – Three to four weeks is all the time you need to make a habit stick. If you can make it through the initial conditioning phase, it becomes easier to keep going. 

2. Make it daily – Consistency is key! If you want to start exercising, go to the gym every day for your first thirty days. Going a few times a week will make it harder to form the habit, or if you need to start slow make sure it is consistent. 

3. Start simple – Don’t try to completely change your life in one day. It is easy to get over-motivated and take on too much. If you want to read for two hours a day, first make the habit to go for thirty minutes and build on that.

4. Remind yourself – Around two weeks into your commitment it can be easy to forget. Put reminders around to keep your habit each day or you might miss a few days. 

5. Stay consistent – The more consistent your habit the easier it will be to persevere, and that is why we list it twice!  Cues like time of day, place and circumstances help form more solid habits. 

6. Get a buddy – Find someone who will go along with you and keep you motivated if you feel like quitting.

7. Form a trigger – A trigger is a ritual you use right before executing your habit. If you wanted to wake up earlier, this could mean waking up in exactly the same way each morning. 

8. Replace lost needs – If you are giving up something in your habit, make sure you are adequately replacing any needs you’ve lost. If watching television gave you a way to relax, try taking up meditation or reading as a way to replace that same need.

9. Be imperfect – Don’t expect all your attempts to change habits to be successful immediately. Just keep trying!

10. Use “but” – This is a great technique for changing bad thought patterns. When you start to think negative thoughts, use the word “but” to interrupt it, “I’m no good at this, BUT if I work at it I’ll get better later.”

11. Remove temptation – Restructure your environment so it won’t tempt you in the first thirty days.

12. Get a role model – Spend more time with people who model the habits you want to mirror. You become what you spend time around.

13. Run it as an experiment – Withhold judgment until after a month and use it as an experiment in behaviour. Experiments can’t fail, they just have different results so it will give you a different perspective on changing your habit.

14. Visualise – Visualise yourself performing the bad habit. Next, visualise yourself pushing aside the bad habit and performing an alternative. Finally, end that sequence with an image of yourself in a highly positive state. Do it a few times until you automatically go through the pattern before executing the old habit.

15. Write it down – A piece of paper with a resolution on it isn’t that important, but writing that resolution is. Writing makes your ideas more clear and focuses you on your end result.

16. Know the benefits – Familiarise yourself with the benefits of making a change. Get books that show the benefits of regular exercise. Notice any changes in energy levels after you take on a new diet. 

17. Do it for yourself – Don’t worry about all the things you “should” have as habits. Instead, tool your habits towards your goals and the things that motivate you. 

Curated from LifeHack