When you try to break a habit, you have to know all of your triggers and then create a positive habit to replace the negative habit for each of the triggers.
Put your triggers in your written plan, and be very consistent with them — when the triggers happen, do the habit immediately, every single time. The less consistent you are with your triggers, the weaker the habit will be.
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We often half-commit to change for a while, relapse, feel guilty about it and then start all over again. That often happens when we are not fully committed.
To commit fully, tell everyone about it and put reminders you're doing it everywhere.
If you fail a few times, don’t give up.
Just figure out why it happened, and plan to beat that obstacle next time. Then be as consistent as possible from then on out, until the habit is ingrained.
Read as much as possible about every habit change, before and during. This way you can find out strategies for success, potential obstacles, good tools that will help you to be successful.
It’s not enough to make a big announcement and not follow through.
Regardless if you fail or succeed, it’s important to have a system that keeps you accountable and helps you reporting your progress.
Not being cognizant of the obstacles makes you more likely to relapse and give up when you hit them. But having a plan to deal with the obstacles when the urges hit make you less likely to relapse.
Research and think it through to anticipate your obstacles. Then make a plan for what you’ll do when you face the obstacles.
There will be times when you falter, and for those moments it’s ideal to have multiple supporters. Best yet, join a support group of people doing the same thing.
Make the commitment to your support group, and promise and ask for their help when you hit rough spots. Put this in your written plan.
Just telling ourselves that we’re going to change isn’t enough. You have to write down your goal and stick to it.
Write a start and an end date (30 days is a good time frame). Write down exactly what you’re going to do, how you’re going to be accountable, your rewards and the obstacles and triggers.
We often refocus to other things a few weeks after starting a habit change. But the habit probably isn’t firmly ingrained by then, so you waste the time spent trying to form the new habit.
Stick to the habit for at least 30 days, and be as consistent as possible.
Before you start your habit change, think through your motivations. Why are you doing this? What will keep you going when you forget your reasons?
Public commitment is a big motivator, but you should have internal ones too. Write these down in your plan.
If you attach a habit to a trigger, you have to do the habit every single time, immediately following the trigger. Being intermittent will not lead you to a habit.
Try not to miss a single time if possible, because the more times you miss the more you’re tempted to ignore the trigger again.
“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence then, is not an act, but a habit.”
No matter how much enthusiasm we have for the goals, taking on even just two habits at once is setting ourselves up for failure, because greatly increases the difficulty of sticking to it.
Pick only one habit to change and devote all of your energy to that, and once it’s on autopilot, move on to the next one.
“Motivation is what gets you started. Habit is what keeps you going.”
Factors to consider when choosing a new habit to track:
To make any habit stick in the long-term (keystone or not), do it regularly.
The more often you do the habit, the more you'll get used to it, and eventually, you'll do it without thinking—the definition of a habit.
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