“Motivation is what gets you started. Habit is what keeps you going.” This statement penned by author Jim Ryun speaks to how you can find long-term success in both your professional and personal life. It takes time to make something a habit, and it certainly is a difficult thing to do. In the spirit of making resolutions for the New Year, we give you a few suggestions to help you make a habit out of your desired behaviors.
- Make time to do it. As obvious as this idea may seem, so many people neglect to take this important first step. For example, if you plan to make exercise a part of your daily routine, you need to set aside a specific time to do that. Look realistically at your schedule and lifestyle to set yourself up for success. Someone who has the most energy and motivation at the beginning of the day would do well to carve out the first 15-30 minutes of the morning for a workout. Establishing the time beforehand will encourage you to stick to your goal and encourage you to continue.
- Connect habits you already have to new habits you’d like to adopt. If your exercise goal is to spend 20 minutes on the treadmill once a day, then incorporate that into something you already do every day. If you always sit down to watch the 5:00 news every night, then spend that time on the treadmill in front of the television instead of sitting on the couch. Or if you always check your email at a certain time, work your exercise into, before, or after it. You’ll have a better chance at sticking to your desired behavior this way.
- Make it as convenient for yourself as possible. If you want to exercise first thing in the morning before work, set out your clothes and equipment, fill your water bottle, and cue up your music the night before so you can roll out of bed and get right to it. You’ll have less of an excuse to skip it if it’s easy and convenient to accomplish.
- Keep a calendar to chart your progress and reward yourself for meeting milestones. In order to stay motivated, you need to set goals and keep track of your progress. Set some benchmarks ahead of time and record them on a calendar, either digitally or on paper. Every time you reach a milestone, reward yourself in a way that will encourage you to keep going. Make the reward enjoyable and guilt-free so that you continue working toward your next benchmark and reward.
When developing good habits, do everything you can to set yourself up for success. Plan ahead, be realistic about your lifestyle, and track your progress. What great habits would you like to build in 2015? Which of our suggestions will be the most helpful to you? Please share your ideas in our comments section!