Out with the Old, In with the New … Habits

As a follow up to last week’s blog about resolutions, this week we’ll take a look at creating new habits in your life. Often, that’s what resolutions really are – new habits you want to develop. This can be difficult to do if you don’t understand the best way to achieve your desired results. Here’s a look at some methods you can employ to replace old habits with new ones.

Figure out how the habit works before you try to change it. Sounds simple, right? After all, if you eat a ton of junk food, eating fruits and vegetables would seem to be the logical new choice for you to make. However, if there is a reason you eat junk food – you are binge eating when you get upset, or eating is a coping mechanism – then you want to examine the reason for the bad habit first. The eating is a symptom of a larger problem. Work on that problem, and it’s easier to understand and work on changing the bad habit.

Give yourself 66 days to make the habit become a lifestyle change. Some sources say 21 days is enough to implement permanent change. That number, however, is more of a myth. A study titled “How Are Habits Formed” by University College London notes that it can take two months or more to solidify a new habit. Take the time necessary to make the change, and set yourself up for success moving forward.

Miss a day? It’s okay. Now, that’s not an invitation to skip out on your regimen. It is a realistic understanding that things happen and you may miss a day. Just get right back on it. If you are determined to see the 66 days through, it is not likely that one day of an accidental miss will derail you.

Start training yourself now to make new habits, and lifestyle changes, for the better!