Whether it’s breaking a bad habit or building a new one, we all have something we would like to change in our lives. But wanting to make a change and actually making that change are sometimes two vastly different things.
Positive changes in your life can be a great way to improve your mental health. You might want to work on your stress levels by doing yoga, or you might want to quit smoking or alcohol to be healthier. Whatever the habit, making them, breaking them and sticking to them can be hard.
10 tips to help make those positive habits stick
1. Be specific about your goal
There’s no point saying you want to lose weight and then spend the weekend sitting on the couch eating Twisties. If your goal is to lose weight, you need to be specific about how you’re going to do that. Don’t say, ‘I want to lose weight’. Say something more along the lines of, ‘I want to lose ten kilos in three months by changing my diet.’ That way you’ve not only defined what your goal is but have a path to achieving it as well.
2. Be realistic
If you want to jog more that’s great. But if you want to jog ten kilometres in thirty minutes by the end of the week you might be stretching it a little there. Your goal needs to be achievable, otherwise you’re simply just not going to achieve it and be discouraged in the process.
3. Keep it simple
Choose just one goal at a time. Having too many goals can be overwhelming and you just don’t want to be overwhelmed when trying to establish a new positive habit.
4. Repetition is key
It’s easier to form a new habit when that habit is repeated. So, the more you repeat that positive habit, the better the chance it has of sticking. For instance, if you want to create the habit of going to bed early and getting a good night’s sleep, then try to go to bed at the same time every night. Read our article, “the physical and mental health effects of both a good and bad nights sleep” to find out more.
5. With a little help from our friends
When we think of peer pressure we always think of it in the negative sense. But peer pressure doesn’t always have to be a negative thing. Try and recruit a buddy to join in on the same goal as you. For instance, if you’ve got a gym buddy you’re probably less inclined on bailing on the workout session if you’re feeling lazy.
6. But… but… but
When we’re trying to incorporate something new into our lives there’s always a point where self-doubt creeps in and we think that we’re never going to be able to achieve it. That’s where the word ‘but’ comes in. Anytime you find self-doubt creeping in, stop it in its tracks with the word ‘but. ‘I’m not running very fast, but, I will get better.’ I’m not losing weight, but I will.’
7. Don’t beat yourself up
We all fail. If we succeeded first time at everything we tried we would never learn a thing. It’s through failure that we truly learn. So, when you fail, don’t be so hard on yourself. Just get up the next day and start again.
8. Replace a thing with a thing
Bad habits are hard to break. If you’re trying to quit smoking for instance, every time you feel like a cigarette have mint instead. You might become addicted to mints but quitting mints is easier than quitting smoking.
9. Track your progress
There’s many ways to track your progress, from using a FitBit for fitness to keeping a diary of your food intake. Keeping a record is a great motivating way to stay on track.
10. Celebrate Successes
When you reach a milestone, celebrate! If you’re half way to achieving your goal, celebrate. If you’ve fully completed your goal, celebrate! You’ve earned it.
If you would like to talk to somebody about putting together a personalised plan to help you create some new positive habits feel free to call Suicide Call Back Service 1300 659 467.
If it is an emergency, dial 000.