When you're trying to create a new habit, it's tempting to want to hit the ground running in an attempt to go from nought to sixty overnight. Yet research shows you're more likely to stick to - and achieve - your goal if you take persistent and consistent baby steps. After all, as the old adage says, slow and steady wins the race.
So no matter what new habit you'd like to introduce to your lifestyle, here are 5 simple changes you can make to your daily routine that will make a big difference.
1. Focus on one thing at a time
When you're introducing a new habit, it's important to choose one new behaviour at a time. This is based on research conducted by BJ Fogg, a Social Science Research Associate at Stanford University. He found that teaching 60-year-olds to quit smoking using an SMS program didn't work as it involved introducing two new behaviours. So, if you're looking to introduce a new healthy habit of getting more active, start by getting active with a discipline you already know, such as walking, running or cycling and slowly build up to introducing new ways to work out.
2. Don't be afraid to start small
It's not about smashing a new PB every day of the week but introducing small changes that edge you towards the bigger goal. Author Leo Babauta recommends introducing a 'trigger' - a new action that attaches the new habit onto an existing one. This could be as simple as leaving your packed gym bag on top of your work shoes each night, so picking up your gym bag becomes part of your morning routine.
3. Write your goal down
There's something about writing down your goals that make them seem more real. And research suggests you're more likely to complete them when they're there in black and white (or blue). That's why it's recommended that on a daily basis you jot down three things:
· what your goal is for that day.
· what your 'trigger' will be that day.
· who you're going to tell.
Which brings us neatly on to…
4. Let others know your plan
You're more likely to stick to your plan if you know that other people know about the plan. Whether it's friends, family, or your followers on social media, spread the word about your new habit-forming routine far and wide.
5. Let others know how you did
At the end of each day, tell the same people whether or not you completed the task. Holding yourself accountable in this way offers a greater incentive to stick to the plan. Talking of which, if you are successful, give yourself a pat on the back for taking another step towards forming a new habit.
Spoiler alert! Ok, so we couldn't stick to just 5 healthy habit tips. Here's a bonus one…
6. Take the Train & Maintain Challenge
Ok, we're biased, but we think our Train & Maintain Challenge is the perfect way to build healthy habits that last! Don't just take our word for it though. Find out more here. And don't forget, our fitness teams are always on hand to help with more motivating habit-forming advice, so feel free to ask at any time.
'The Power of Less' by Leo Babauta
'Tiny Habits: The Small Changes that Change Everything' by BJ Fogg