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6 tips to form a new habit

Whether it’s eating healthier, sticking to an exercise program, being more grateful, doing more random acts of kindness, or writing in a journal, creating a new habit can be tricky. But if you do it regularly and consistently, you can be successful.

Here are six tips to successfully form a new habit:

  1. Commit to 30 days. Three to four weeks is the minimum amount of time you need to make a habit automatic. Once you make it through the initial phase, it becomes much easier to sustain.
  2. Keep it simple. Start small. The number one reason people fail with a new habit is they take on too much, too fast. It’s much easier to start small and build from there. Choose the minimum amount of work that you need to get done each day to make the bigger goal a reality. For example, start with five pushups a day instead of 50, or one minute of meditation a day instead of 10.
  3. Build on it slowly. Small, limited quotas make each day approachable and make it easier to achieve your bigger goal. For example, add one more pushup per day or one more minute of meditation per week.
  4. Be specific. Don’t just say you are going to do it every day. Make a detailed plan of how you will do it. For example, it can be something like, “before I take my morning shower, I’m going to do five pushups.”
  5. Pay attention to how you feel. When you are practicing your new habit, be mindful of the emotions and feelings you get from it. Do you have more energy, or feel proud, happier, or more relaxed? Noticing and remembering positive emotions and feelings are what will help you continue with your new habit.
  6. Keep track of your progress. Research shows that tracking a new habit and how it makes you feel can help you stick with it. Keep judgment aside— there’s no need to be hard on yourself if you skip a day or more. Just aim to get back on track the next day.