When we make changes in our lives or adopt a new behaviour, it is only if we continue with those changes that they become our habits.
Firstly, think of some of the current habits you have that you are trying to change. Maybe you are trying to exercise more, make smarter food choices, walk more every day, stop smoking, start drinking more water. Whatever it is, many of your current habits have been part of your life for over a decade, over two decades or maybe even longer!
If you are committed to making changes, they will come. But appreciate that your habits might be so engrained its like trying to change the direction of a supertanker and you are expecting results to be as quick as steering a sailboat. Take a deep breathe and be patient with yourself.
It has previously been claimed that it takes 21 days of repeating a new behaviour for it to be solidified as a habit. I think we have to understand it's a little more complex than that. For me, it's about finding the friction. I was speaking with a client last week about making smart choices for food throughout the day and she felt the key for her was starting with a healthy breakfast. Her current breakfast routine however, was being interrupted by builders arriving everyday at 8am when she would usually be sitting down to eat. She had consequently stopped eating breakfast and was then finding herself snacking throughout the day on whatever was available, instead of making smart choices for her goals. We found friction. The builders. They were making it hard for her to stick to her new “habit”. It wasn’t possible to just get rid of them 😂 but understanding how this was impacting the day brought us to a discussion about getting out of bed 10 minutes earlier. That was possible, and that reduced some of the friction! Once you find the friction point, the key is to either reduce the friction or remove it completely if you can. I will give you some examples: Wanting to get up early (new habit) but feel too tired in morning because you don’t go to bed until after midnight (friction). Solution: Start going to bed early (remove friction) or earlier (reduce friction) and see if that helps Wanting to exercise 3 times a week (new habit) but find it hard to be motivated at the end of a long day at work (friction) Solution: Start to get up before work to exercise (remove friction) or lay all your gym clothes to change into as soon as you get home (reduce friction) and see if that helps Wanting to stick to a healthier eating approach (new habit) to help lose weight but keep snacking late at night on chocolate Solution: Don’t buy chocolate until you are closer to your goal (remove friction) or find an alternative that fits with your calorie intake and doesn’t sabotage your weight loss goals (reduce friction) The challenge for us all is to make sure we are not using the friction as an excuse to stop trying. There will always be points of friction when you make a change. There will always be friction throughout life. It’s our job to be really curious about where that friction is presenting itself and then figure out how to remove or reduce it, so we can continue to move forwards. So, where is your friction and what can you do about it? If you need help or support, I am always here to chat so let me know.