5 Steps to Create a New Habit
We’ve already walked through the process of creating your goals and identifying the habits needed to make them a reality. But so many of us struggle to actually stick to our habits and execute day to day. So today, I want to share with you some simple steps you can follow to commit to a new daily habit..
Step 1: Create Focus - As I shared last week, the first step in habit formation is to identify your new habit: what do you want to do and why? How will it tie back to your larger goals?
- Stay Focused: commit to creating just 1 to 2 new habits at a time. Once you establish these initial habits, you’ll be able to add new ones in. This is called "habit stacking"
- Goal-Oriented: Choose to create new habits that directly support your most important goal
Step 2: Commit - Next, you’ll want to make a clear commitment to your new habit. I suggest starting with a short term goal. For example, "I will read every evening for 30 minutes for the next week" or "I will run daily for 15 minutes for the next 30 days". This gives you a clear target you can work towards. Once you hit your initial goal, you can extend it out to continue to establish your new habit.
Struggle to stick to new habits?
You may need external accountability! Find an accountability partner you can share your goal with and set a time for them to check in with you on your progress.
Step 3: Plan - The clearer you are on all of the specifics of your new habit, the easier it will be to execute daily. Make sure you designate a specific time of the day and/or a trigger for your habit.
Step 4: Track - The best way to stay accountable to a new habit is to track your daily progress! You can track your habits in an app or in any of the habit tracking stickers/templates included with your digital planner. I personally use the habit tracker linked to every monthly page to track all of my most important habits in a single view.
Step 5: Reflect & Adjust - As you track your habits week to week, reflect on your progress.
If you aren’t meeting your goals:
- What is your biggest barrier?
- Can you change your approach to this habit? (i.e. a different time of the day, pairing it with another habit, etc.)
- Is there a way you could make this habit easier or more fun so you experience less resistance day-to-day?
- Can you get support or accountability to help?
A few tips to help solidify your habits
Habit Anchoring: think about the habits you already have, can you use one of those established habits to anchor your new habit? For example, if you’re trying to start taking vitamins and you already brush your teeth every morning after you wake up, you could place your vitamins next to your toothbrush to remind yourself to take them every morning. The key is to find ways to merge your new habit into your existing routines to make it as effortless as possible.
Habit Bundling: Get creative when thinking about ways to motivate yourself to take action on your new habit. If you’re trying to commit to something that you don’t necessarily enjoy, can you pair it with something you do? For example, maybe you like to spend time watching reality TV but you want to start walking on the treadmill daily. You might try watching TV while on the treadmill. I personally like to make myself a cup of tea at night, so I’ve started pairing my nightly mindfulness and planning ritual with my nightly cup of tea.
Set Reminders: Make sure your new habit stays top of mind by setting a reminder on your phone or tablet. Most phones have a standard “Reminders” app that allows you to set a notification for a specific time of the day. Many apps also allow you to use other triggers, like when you get in the car or when you leave your house.
Visualize: Research shows that you are more likely to execute on a new habit if you take the time to first visualize yourself completing it. While this might seem like a silly exercise, it helps to really cement in the intention and gives yourself a mental "dry run" that helps overcome some of the initial internal resistance you might face to get started.
While you are planning out your new habit, take the time to pause and think through each of the individual actions involved in completing it. Close your eyes and visualize yourself completing each of these actions. Make note of any resistance you might face and how you will overcome it. Think about how you will feel after taking action and how it will contribute to your overall goals.
I've created an insert page freebie that guides you through all the steps I've shared in this post so you can commit to and plan your own habits!
If you haven't yet signed up for access to our freebie library, you can sign up here.
- Jump over to the Freebie Library and click on the “Bonus Insert + Overlay Pages” category, this will take you to a Google Drive folder
- Click on the folder labeled, “Creating a New Habit”
- This folder has PNG and PDF file versions of the page in both portrait and landscape layouts.
- The portrait layout comes in 2 pages, the landscape layout is 1 page. Choose the layout that works best in your planner and size it to fit the page.
- If you digital plan on an iPad or Android tablet and are new to using insert pages, this video walks you through all the basics.
- If you use an e-ink device (Remarkable, Supernote, etc.) you can use the PDF files and can import them to your device as a standalone page, separate from your general planner.