If you’ve ever set out to build a habit only to neglect it 4 months later, you’re not alone.
Back in 2020, there were habits I let slip more than usual, like weight lifting and healthy eating. (But we were in the middle of a freaking pandemic, so I gave myself a break).
When you’ve fallen off track, it’s tempting to feel like a failure and give up on habit-building completely. But slipping up from time to time is all part of the journey to habit change. The important thing is that you pick yourself back up and try again (cue Rocky theme music).
If that’s you, I thought it’d be helpful for me to show you exactly how I go about (re)building my habits.
1. Get Specific About Your Goal
Simply saying “I want to read more” or “I want to exercise more” isn’t going to help you take action. But getting specific about what “more” means will help you track your habits and measure success.
When creating your goal, it’s important to fit it into what flow researchers call, “The Flow Channel.” If you set the bar too high (like reading “Game of Thrones” in 1 day), you’ll create too much pressure on yourself and avoid the habit completely. But if it’s too easy (like reading 1 book every 3 months), it won’t be challenging enough to excite you.
Instead, you have to set a specific goal that stretches you just a little bit more than what you think you’re capable of. That’s the sweet spot.
2. Don’t Wing It
To successfully build a new habit, it’s important to put together a plan and give yourself a guide to follow. Personally, I like to map out the first 30 to 100 days.
For example, when I set my goal to read 2 books a month, I planned my first 100 days
by picking out the first 6 books I wanted to read. Since I always had the next book ready to go, I never lost momentum.
If you want to meditate daily you can find an app to start with and a plan for when you will meditate. Put it on your to-do list or add it to your calendar as a reminder to take action consistently.
While you’re looking at your calendar, keep an eye out for any events, travel, or work projects that may get in your way. Get ahead of the game and plan for the busiest days so you can keep up with the habit.
3. Create Accountability
I’m not going to sugarcoat it — at some point, you *will* be tempted to skip a day or call it quits. That’s where accountability groups or partners come in.
When I set my reading goal, I held myself accountable by announcing it to my family members as well as followers. But you don’t need an audience for accountability. Simply letting those in your inner circle know what you’re working on will help you stay on track.
You can also find a workout buddy, join a reading group, or make a post on Instagram about why this habit is important to you.
I wish you all the best in building your habits this year. Remember, habit-change is a long game, so be sure to focus on taking it one day at a time.