7 Tactics to Build Better Habits In The Next Few Months
1. Start Small
Most people make the critical mistake of trying to do too much right from the start. For example, a person who hasn’t exercised since high school decides to work out daily for an hour.
At first glance, that seems like a solid strategy because there is no substitute for hard work. The problem is that such an approach is rarely sustainable because habit change takes time.
So, instead of trying to turn your life around from one day to the next, think small (2):
- Read one page of helpful material daily
- Meditate for a minute in the morning
- Do five minutes of daily exercise
- Write one good thing that happened today
- Strive to eat one healthy meal a day
2. Do The Uncomfortable Thing First
We often make the mistake of thinking we will find the time for good habits later in the day––after work, school, putting the kids to bed, etc. But, unfortunately, things rarely work out that way because things pop up, robbing us of time and energy.
Rather than thinking you will have time later, embrace the reality that you probably won’t and that you will come up with good excuses to silence your guilt.
Whatever habit you try to build, do it as early in the day as possible. For example, if you want to start exercising, early mornings are a perfect time. It is a great way to start the day, and you’re less likely to be interrupted by an emergency.
3. Give Yourself More Time
Patience is a virtue, especially when it comes to building new habits.
One common mistake is trying to change their lives from one day to the next, only to end up frustrated and disappointed.
The truth is habit change takes time––the more significant the change, the more time you will need (3).
So, when going about new habits, understand that it will likely take weeks or even months of consistent effort.
4. Prioritize Sleep
Getting enough sleep each night is crucial for your health, well-being, productivity, cognition, and outlook (4, 5, 6). None of the other tactics will matter if you ignore your Sleep and get at least seven hours every night.
Many people understand the importance of Sleep but resort to stimulants to compensate for sleep deprivation, which rarely works in the long run. A couple of extra cups of coffee might make you feel better for a while, but how long do you think you could last with that approach?
Given the importance of good Sleep, one of the best things you can do to set yourself up for success is to become more disciplined about Sleep. Set a bedtime and stick with it religiously.
Sleep an extra hour for a few nights, and you’ll see how better you feel.
5. Consider the Long-Term Benefits
You might struggle to develop healthy habits because you lose track of the long-term benefits. For example, you might start jogging a few times per week, thinking about the fantastic advantages you would experience in due time:
- More energy and vitality
- Better Sleep
- Weight loss
- A stronger heart
But as your initial enthusiasm fades, you stop daydreaming—instead, your attention shifts to the daily grind.
Staying motivated in the long run comes down to discipline, but don’t forget to consider the potential benefits of your current efforts.
6. Pick Your Surroundings Carefully
There are two options:
People can benefit from their surroundings or fall victim to them.
Your environment and social circle play a considerable role in your approach to life: what you think, believe, and do every day.
As the saying goes, “You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.” Be around winners, and you’re bound to become one; spend your time with lazy individuals, and they will drag you down to their level.
In addition to your social circle, your surroundings will play a role in habit formation. For example, if you’re trying to eat better, fill your kitchen with whole and healthy foods. That way, when it’s time to eat or enjoy a snack, you have no choice but to pick up a fruit or prepare a healthy meal.
7. Don’t Give Up
Our last tactic for building better habits is something you’ve probably heard a million times before. Still, it bears repeating because people often forget how powerful it is to keep going in the face of adversity.
We all make mistakes, fall for temptations, skip workouts, and succumb to laziness. Trying to be perfect in your approach to better habits can’t possibly work because you will inevitably slip up in some way.
Rather than trying to have a perfect record, recognize that setbacks are part of the journey. So, instead of beating yourself up or giving up, keep going.
Missed a workout? Do the next one as scheduled. Had an unhealthy meal? Eat a salad with lean meat later.
In other words, return to the habits you’ve been building after an inevitable setback. Making progress is rarely glorious or linear.