9 Ways To Successfully Create Good Habits And 5 Reasons You Fail To Break Bad Habits
9 Ways To Create New Successful Good Habits & 5 Reasons You Fail To Break Bad Ones
“Your net worth to the world is generally determined by what is left after your bad clothes are subtracted from your good ones.” -Benjamin Franklin
We all have clothes. Some are good and healthy habits, while others are bad and possibly even dangerous. Throughout our lives, we often set goals to try to create new good habits or break the bad ones we already have. Many people try over and over again to change their habits for the better only to fail in the end. Learning a new habit can be just as difficult as breaking a bad one you’ve struggled with for years. There are reasons for this and steps you can take to help ensure your success.
Establishing good, healthy habits can enrich your life in countless ways. When an action becomes a habit, it becomes automatic and you don’t really have to think about it very much. Some of the healthy habits that people try to develop include; eat healthier, exercise regularly, meditate, complete chores, or simply take time each day for themselves. These are just a few examples, but basically anything you want to do on a regular basis that enriches your life and makes you happy can become a habit.
Here are nine simple tips that are easy to follow and can help you turn healthy activities into lifelong habits.
1. Take small steps. – You can’t expect to just dive in and succeed by developing a good habit. Start with small manageable steps. If you want to make healthy eating a habit, start by trading specific meals or foods for healthier options. If you make sudden and drastic changes to your lifestyle, chances are you won’t be successful.
2. Take responsibility. – Tell a friend or family member whose opinions matter to you. By telling a trusted friend or family member about your intention to develop a new habit, you promote responsibility. You’ll be more likely to stick with your habit if you know you’ll have to answer to someone other than yourself.
3. Treat yourself. – You should be proud of the fact that you are trying to make positive changes in your life. Reward yourself regularly when you stick with your new habit. Enjoy a pedicure or a warm bubble bath. Spend a Saturday morning sleeping in or playing a few rounds of golf on the course. Whatever you love… do it.
4. One habit at a time. – Work on developing one habit at a time. If you’re like me, there are a ton of new, healthy habits you want to incorporate into your life. Focus on one at a time so you don’t feel overwhelmed. Developing a habit, like exercising regularly, may seem like a small change, but it’s not. When you start to develop a new habit of any kind, you are changing the way you live your life.
5. Make sure you really want it. – The more you want to make changes, even small ones, the more likely you are to stick with them. Never start developing a habit you don’t want just because you believe, or have been told, that it is the right thing to do. If you try to force yourself to do something you hate, you will avoid it at all costs. If you hate going to the gym, don’t. There are many good habits that you can develop that will enrich your life and that you will enjoy.
6. Plan it.- Sit down and make a list of the good clothes that you would like to develop. Prioritize the list and determine which clothes you would like to develop first. Once you have this figured out, write down a plan. By putting this in writing, you can refer back to it whenever you need a little extra motivation and it will help keep you on track.
7. Be very specific. – Don’t just say, “I want to make it a habit to drink more water.” Instead, say, “I want to start drinking eight glasses of water a day.” By being specific, you’ll know exactly what you need to do to develop your new habit, and you won’t feel overwhelmed. If you’re too lazy, you could easily rationalize that you drank more water today than yesterday, even if it wasn’t the eight glasses you wanted.
8. Use tools. – Use all the resources you have at your disposal. You can make lists, journals, charts, spreadsheets… anything that helps you keep track of your goals. I often use sticky notes around the house. I will put reminders on the walls, mirrors, refrigerator, and anywhere else I think they might be helpful. They may not look pretty, but they help keep me motivated.
9. Don’t scold yourself for slipping. – We all make mistakes from time to time. Just yesterday, he was eating some French fries while he was watching TV. Before I knew it, the whole bag was empty! It happens to everyone. Realize this, and don’t be too hard on yourself. Remind yourself why you wanted to develop the habit in the first place, and then start all over again.
“A man who can’t bear to share his clothes is a man who needs to give it up.” -Stephen King, The Dark Tower
Why is it so hard to break bad habits? There are things we do daily, or even hourly, that we know are not good for us. We bite our nails, smoke cigarettes, choose unhealthy foods, procrastinate, lead a sedentary life, etc. Each of us has a bad habit that we would love to break, but we often have a hard time doing so. This is because once a habit develops, we rarely even realize we’re doing it. It becomes part of who we are. If we want to improve our lives, breaking bad habits is a good place to start.
Here are 5 common reasons why we often fail to break bad habits.
1. We expect results too quickly. – We don’t develop our bad habit in a day, and we certainly can’t expect to break it in a day either. Breaking a habit takes time. We must be patient and persistent in our goals.
2. We have a low level of self-awareness. – I have bitten my nails most of my life. I do it without even thinking and usually don’t even realize I’ve been chewing them until I feel pain or see blood. This is because I am not always aware of myself. We often go through life on autopilot, but when we’re trying to break a habit, we need to slow down and pay attention to everything we’re doing. We must make an attempt to really live in the moment. If we develop a stronger sense of self-awareness, we can avoid our bad habits as soon as we start doing them.
3. We use our clothes as an emotional crutch. – Many of our habits, such as smoking or turning to food when we need comfort, serve as a coping mechanism for stress or emotional pain. We have to look for other, healthier substitutes for these clothes. When I was trying to quit smoking, I would often exercise whenever I felt the urge. The exercise took my mind off my immediate cravings and helped relieve my stress in a healthy way.
4. We don’t tell anyone that we are trying to break our habit. – Breaking a bad habit is extremely difficult. It is even more difficult when we do not have the support of our friends and family. Often we don’t tell them out of fear. We think that by not telling them, we can avoid disappointing them if we fail. To successfully break a bad habit, we must tell those we love and trust. They will give us the support we need and also hold us accountable for our actions.
5. We are too hard on ourselves when we revert to old patterns. – Just as developing new habits is difficult, breaking old ones is extremely difficult. We will all make mistakes from time to time. We must stay positive and remember why we want to tear our clothes. Do you want to be a better role model for your children? Do you want to avoid a second heart attack? Do you want your nails to be beautiful for your wedding day? Whatever your motivation, remember, there’s a very good reason you decided to break your bad habit in the first place. When we slip up and fall back into our bad habits, we need to take a moment to remind ourselves why it’s important to break the habit. So we must start again.
I hope these tips help you feel guided to have the motivation to break out of clothes that don’t make you happy or develop a new one that you are proud of.
“Successful people are simply those with successful clothes.” -Brian Tracy