7 Essential Tricks To Make New Habits Stick

This time it’s for real.
You’re really going to give up coffee.
You’re really, actually going to start the day with 10 minutes of meditation and journaling.

You’re seriously going to start hunting for a better, more fulfilling job.

Sound familiar? (Me, too.)
We all love a fresh start.

It’s invigorating to brush off the cobwebs and take steps towards a new life.

But a few weeks in, you might find yourself dragging your feet and falling back into your old habits of coffee and Netflix and complaining about your job while doing zip about it.

If this is you, don’t beat yourself up. You’re only human! But before you embark on another big, exciting set of changes, take a moment to step back, breeeeeathe, and think – deeply – about the hows and whys of the changes you’re making.

Are you attempting changes that aren’t appropriate or feasible? Trying to give up dairy for the rest of your natural life? Never, ever allowing a drop of alcohol to pass your lips from here on out? Are you creating unattainable, eventually heartbreaking goals for yourself?

Instead, reflect on what would bring you abundance + greater happiness.
Think analytically about the changes you want to make and how you can position yourself so success feels sustainable and serves the greater good. Think about what you really want and how you can pursue those changes in a way that generates more of the feelings you want to experience.

Here are seven loving, doable ways to make new habits stick.

1. Decide that you’re worth it!
Make the decision that you’d like things to change and that you’re worth the investment. Take an official stance that you will set aside the necessary time, energy, and funds to improve your spiritual, physical, and emotional health.

2. Ask yourself why
Need motivation for making changes? Unearth the ‘why’ behind these new habits and you’re more likely to stay committed. You’re more likely to take the steps needed to bring about the change you seek. Do you want to get healthy so you have more energy for your kids? Or so you’ll feel sexier for your partner? Do you want a new job because you want a shorter commute (and a more time for your hobbies)?  Or because you’re ready for a new challenge?

3. Be flexible
Put systems in place to help you succeed – lay out your gym clothes the night before, set alarms on your iphone, stock your fridge with healthy snacks. But also know that things will change and you’ll have to go with the flow. And that’s OK; you’re prepared. You’ll get back to your new routine ASAP.

I like using the phrase “more often than not” with my clients. We work towards sticking to the good habits and routines “more often than not.” This leaves psychological space for the ebb + flow and realities of life. We’re all less likely to beat ourselves up for missing that workout because we woke up late.

4. Silence the negative chatter
Speaking of beating ourselves up,your ego will work overtime to criticize you – it’s just trying to protect you! Be grateful for the ego’s role in your life, but evaluate the validity of those thoughts and beliefs. Practice replacing the negative, judging thoughts with empowering thoughts.

Really celebrate your accomplishments and commitment to you new goals. When you land five job interviews, buy a bottle of champagne. When you’ve exercised regularly for a month, get a nice pedicure.

5. Tell people
You’re more likely to stick to a new habit when you involve other people in this new part of your life. Tell your friends you’re training for a marathon and see if anyone wants to join you. Announce that you’re considering graduate school and ask your M.A. friends if they have any advice. When we tell people about the changes we’re making, they’ll hold us accountable, and we’ll be more likely to stick with ‘em.

6. Stay present
Change is a very, very long process. If you start running today it’ll be months before you have those long, lean legs you’re craving. If you start looking at M.B.A. programs today, it’ll be years before you graduate. And that’s okay!

Don’t spend today worrying about how you’re going to maintain these new habits in the long run. You can only work with the now. You only have control over this moment. Did you run this morning? Then you’re doing great.

7. Set realistic goals.
Think about the things you’d like to add to your life, not just the outcomes of these changes. Rather than thinking about your marathon medal, think about how much more energy you’ll have, your sense of accomplishment, how good it will feel to start your day with exercise.

Change takes practice. It happens in small steps. Take time celebrate when a new habit becomes part of your daily life.

Celebrate the small things. They lead to big things. {Tweet this!}

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I’m a Los Angeles based life coach + business coach.
I offer a sharp combination of keen insight, know-how + intuition.
Interested in laser focused one-on-one treatment? Hire me. You won’t regret it.

Comments

  1. Hi,

    Thank you for this article. It’s fantastic! My favorite tips are #1 and #2. I think it’s helpful to remind yourself of why you are making the effort and to also remind yourself that you are doing it in your own best interest and that you deserve the best!

    Keep on inspiring, Danielle! Much appreciated. 🙂

    • http://danielle-dowling.com/content/themes/danielledowling/img/comment-fallback.png

      Hi Kristin! Yes! The WHY has the potential to be the fuel to your fire. It is what can keep us going and focused on the big, gorgeous picture in the midst of adversity or a crappy day. Thanks for being here! xx

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