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Creating New Habits: Starting Off
When it comes to creating new habits it can feel overwhelming. You may ask yourself, how do I start a healthy lifestyle? Once it gets started, how do I maintain a healthy lifestyle? These are valid questions. It’s not easy to form a new habit. It takes a plan, accountability partner, and repetition. So where do you start?
First, ask yourself who do you want to be. Habits are about identity. For example, when you always tell people you aren’t a morning person, this shows that’s who you believe you are. If you change that to “I am a morning person” you now are identifying yourself as a morning person. Creating a new habit to get up early every morning becomes natural. You are no longer fighting against the thought that you are not a morning person. Repetition is how you form a new habit. Keep repeating the identity you want to have.
Creating New Habits: Consistency
Once you start forming a habit it’s important to stay consistent. In order to do this, start small. Take a minute and think about what new habit do you want to create? Now ask yourself, “what is ONE thing I can do to start this habit?” Now back up about two steps and start there. What do I mean by back up two steps? Here is an example.
A new habit I want to form is to walk every morning before work. What is the ONE thing I can do to start this habit? I may want to say put my walking clothes out the night before. That’s a good idea and important to do but it’s not the starting point. What about before you even get out of bed. Am I a morning person? Is walking really the challenge or is it getting up early enough to go for a walk? It’s important to create a habit that will feed into the actual action you want to take. In this example, if I have trouble getting up in the morning I’m going to set my ONE thing to I will get up at 6:00 AM every day. That’s my new habit. The walking habit will come later.
By using the example above you can see how choosing what identifies you is important. Saying your a person who walks every day won’t help you get out of bed each morning to make that happen. Backing up the steps to create the identity you want to have when you start a habit is crucial to success.
Let’s look at another example of how to form a habit. In this example, you want to drink more water daily. If you first you identify yourself as a person who drinks water over other beverages.
What you will say to yourself is “I drink water” instead of “I should have water”. The more you say to yourself who you want to become your habits will create that person. Now how do you actually start taking the steps to drink more water? Just like in the example of walking each day you will make your non-negotiable small enough to be successful regularly. Instead of saying I will drink water for every meal, step it back to keeping water with you. By making sure you have water with you, this builds your new habit of water being available. If it’s there you will drink it.
When I do habit coaching for women for drinking more water my tip is to keep water with you just like your cell phone. You don’t go anywhere without your cell phone. By linking water, to your cell phone, you will always have it with you. The key here is to create opportunities to drink more water. If it’s available you are more likely to drink it.
Creating New Habits: Repetition
Now that you know what new habit you want to create. The next step is to set the time and day you will repeat your non-negotiable habit. By setting a time and day it makes the action a commitment in your life. Writing down your commitment to the new habit in your calendar or set a reminder on your phone will increase your success rate. Follow-through is the hardest part of creating new healthy habits. Having a time and date written down adds a level of commitment to the actions.
You have created your new habit routine and added it to your calendar. Now it’s time to get to work. Wait, there is one more thing to confirm that you will be successful. Tracking and sharing your new habit with others. Having an accountability partner is vital to your success. Using a tool to track the progress of your new habit will ensure followthrough. It is proven that tracking your progress when creating a new habit will help you to be successful by over 80%.
Creating New Habits: Tracking
I’m going, to be honest here. Tracking is not fun. Most people don’t like to track their progress because it feels like work. It is work. When you decide to form a new habit it will be hard. The best way to combat this challenge is to have a tracking system that is easy and fits in your life already. Wraines Wellness Habit App allows you to track food, lifestyle habits, and activity. It allows you to see your progress in one place. There are other electronic trackers available paid and free. This is a personal choice. My professional recommendation is use what works for you. Tracking your progress only works if you actually do it. Pick what works for you that you will do 100% of the time. Seeing your success motivates you through positive reinforcement and seeing your setbacks motivates you through negative reinforcement.
Creating New Habits: Sharing
Now let’s talk about sharing for a minute. Sharing your success plan to create a new habit will give you accountability. Check out this blog on accountability for a more in-depth look at the benefits of accountability when creating a new habit. For those of you who need accountability with creating your new habits join my free Facebook group Healthy Habit Inspiration and Accountability for Women. In this group, you will have an opportunity to connect with other ladies who are on a similar path creating healthy habits. You will get to share your success and struggles to gain support and encouragement along your journey. If you have a support system in place already, it is crucial that you share with them your success plan and tracking on a regular basis. For me, I share my success and struggle with my husband and in the Health Habits Inspiration and Accountability for Women group.
Key takeaways for creating a new habit.
- Identify yourself as a person who does the habit you want to create.
- Commit to a non-negotiable action you know you can be successful doing all the time.
- Set a time and day you will repeat the habit.
- Create opportunities for your new habit in your routine.
- Track your new habit progress.
- Share your success and setbacks.
Now that you have more information on how to create new habits how about starting today? You can start a new healthy habit with me as your Habit Coach. With my online coaching program, you will have a guide with the key tasks above and weekly check-ins by me Suzy Wraines, Habit Coach for Women. You will have support from other ladies who are in the program for built-in accountability. Will you commit 30-days to yourself?