Building Good Lifestyle Habits

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How many of you are still doing your new year’s resolutions?

Be honest!

I found it interesting that this article states that 80% of New Year’s Resolutions FAIL!

Since I enjoy doing research, I found this ABC article that agrees.

Understandably, most resolutions fail, but it’s also extremely shocking looking at the studies.

This brings me back to my first question, and I want to know, are you still doing your New Year’s Resolution? Let me know in the comments below.

As you know, I don’t believe in making new year’s resolutions. Instead, I think you should work on lifestyle changes that you will stick with (many of which you can start doing right now!).

The most recent example was when I meditated for 30 days and still, for the most part, do it today! It’s truly amazing what ten minutes of focus can do.

Many people will choose “resolutions” that they aren’t making a priority or set the bar too high to complete. We are all human, and it’s much easier to fall back into our comfortable routine than make a lifestyle change that seems difficult at first.


Set Goals: How to set goals and stick to them

How do you stay with a habit?

I recently read The Power of Habits by Charles Duhigg, which was a great book that got me thinking about habits and how they work.

One thing I learned, and have tried, is to attach a new habit to one you already have.

An example is that I want to start stretching every day, which is a good example because I never stick with this for more than a few days.

Using what Duhigg said, I should try attaching stretching to something I do every morning.

toothpaste-on-a-toothbrush

Since I brush my teeth every day, specifically after waking up, if I wanted to add stretching to my daily routine, one way to do that is to do it right after I brush my teeth.

So far, it’s working!

That is one of the reasons for writing this post. Just because I don’t believe in resolutions doesn’t mean millions of others don’t.

I have found that habits aren’t hard to start forming. The key is to make sure you have many small achievements.

If you are interested in making this stick, I suggest looking into creating SMART goals. There is a lot of information out there, but it’s one thing I’m trying to work on. It’s a smart way to frame what you are trying to accomplish.

SMAT-goals


Find A Routine: Create a routine that works for you

To keep it simple, start with taking it one step at a time.

One thing I go back to constantly is the analogy of taking small steps. I like using the question, “How do you eat an elephant?” The answer is one bite at a time.

A simple way of looking at this is taking working out. You shouldn’t go from never working out to hitting the gym six days a week.

That’s a recipe for disaster.

Not only do you set yourself up for injury, but I also guarantee you will be sore and won’t want to go back.

Instead, set lower or more negligible goals along the way.

Like, as going for a five-minute walk every day, doing ten pushups in the morning before breakfast, or my personal favorite is going to the gym three days a week.

Staying with the gym example, try setting a goal of going to the gym for 10-15 minutes three days a week. That’s it.

Your “Goal” is to get on either the elliptical or the bike during this short time. That’s it!

Guess what happens? You will more than likely stay longer!
Give it a try, and let me know if it works.


Stay positive: Cultivate a positive attitude

Learning to stay positive while setting goals can be difficult.

It can be tempting to start quickly and change your mindset, but this may not be the best way to approach things. It is essential to start slowly and build up momentum.

Changing your mindset can be difficult, but it is worth it if it leads to better results.

snail-pictureStart Slow

How many times have you tried something only to stop later? 

I would guess that you went all in and did well for a short time. Only to find out later that you stopped, but you don’t know why.

Like the example I used above, find ways to make it easy to create this new habit.

Here is something you could try.

  1. Start by writing down the habit you want to create (or change)
  2. Find ten or more things you can do to achieve this habit (these will become your small steps to reach the main habit you want to create or change)
  3. Set reminders, make notes on 3×5 cards, or anything else that will help remind you of these small changes.

The small steps you do every day will help give you the motivation to continue down this new path.

Mindset

We cannot try to change anything if we don’t take a minute and think about our mindset.

Our minds are truly amazing. It is remarkable what they can do and accomplish.

Suppose you have tried to create a habit for yourself in the past and have failed. Here is a simple mindset change for you. I have taken it from Nerd Fitness (a fitness community of amazing people).

Stop thinking that you failed to create a new habit! As we talked about earlier, you might have started strong only to stop making any forward progress.

Then you believe that you failed. But guess what?

You didn’t fail at all!

There are thousands of ways to achieve something. All you did was learn what didn’t work for you.

Keep in mind that we all learn differently, and that’s okay. It’s what makes you unique. And now, we will start to unfold what will actually work for you!

Don’t believe me. Go to Google and search for a test to find your learning style. You might have taken this in the past. I know I did this in school many years ago. 

time-for-a-change

Let’s do a quick recap because this has been a lot of info.

Take the stretching example from above. If stretching after brushing your teeth doesn’t work for you, now you know what doesn’t work. You know there must be a different time that stretching will work better for you.

You need to stop comparing yourself to others.

Just because someone can work out every day doesn’t make them better. It means they have tried many approaches and finally found what works for them.

Today is the day that you find out what works for you too!

The key here is to start slow and build it up over time.


Reward Yourself: Give yourself rewards for sticking to your habits

Enjoy the journey!

Something we all forget to do is enjoy the path we are on.

Set up a few rewards once you have achieved your new habit. For example, I want something new for my Rav, but I can only purchase it once I’ve meditated for 30 days in a row.

You might set a reward for going to the gym three days a week for a month. Like a new workout outfit, water bottle, or getting chocolate milk after each successful workout!

Go with the flow!

Life has a funny way of messing us up when we least expect it. A way around this is to keep your eye on the end goal (or habit you want to make), which allows you to earn daily forward progress.

I’ll leave you with something that has stuck with me for years.

“Never miss two in a row.”Steve from Nerd Fitness.

Life happens, and there is nothing we can do about it. But, if you focus on not missing two in a row, that will work wonders for you.

Stop beating yourself up if you feel like you failed. That hasn’t helped you in the past and won’t help you now.

If you take your time, develop a plan that you can achieve bit by bit, and have fun, you can achieve everything you want.


How To Keep Up Your Good Habits

Do you do anything specific to create a pattern or habit? 

Above, I shared a few ways to create lifestyle changes in my life. But that doesn’t mean there are others!

I want to know all your suggestions and ideas in the comments below.

So often, we are looking for our next thing or quick fix. We don’t take the time to enjoy where we are. 

Remember all the decisions and choices you have made up to this point have led you here. That’s a good thing!

Today is the day that you are going to build good habits. Ones that will make you happy and feel fulfilled.

Let today be the day you start building the life and mind you want.
This is a journey, and I can’t wait to hear how it goes for you.

mindset-retrain-your-mind


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