tips for building better habits

Tips for Building Better Habits

Most of us have dreams of changing something about our lives for the better, whether it’s becoming healthier, going after a big professional goal, or striving for the kind of life that makes us feel happy and fulfilled. 

Although many of these goals we have may require a few major steps, oftentimes one of the most effective ways to make our dreams a reality is to create positive daily habits — even if the smallest of forms. 

No matter what you’re hoping to improve about yourself, consistency compounds over time to get you where you want to go. Use these tips to help you build better habits starting today. 

Optimize Your Morning Routine

“Waking up on the wrong side of the bed” isn’t just a saying about your mood when you first open your eyes in the morning. It can just as easily describe the actions you take before you wake the kids up or before you head into work. 

How we start each day can have a dramatic impact on us: from the ability to handle stressful situations and maneuver complex tasks, to the way we communicate with others or drive on the road. 

And if you have a specific goal or vision for your life, prioritizing daily habits to help you achieve it can go a long way over the span of weeks or months. Here are a few examples of morning routines that you might want to try: 

  • Meditating for 5-10 minutes in a quiet space before diving into other tasks. 
  • Choosing a set of affirmations to say aloud to yourself every morning.
  • Waking up 30 minutes or an hour earlier to give yourself time to read, write, or exercise. 
  • Keeping your phone put away while you spend the morning with your family as everyone prepares for school. 
  • Creating specific intentions for the day to keep you focused and motivated. 

Create Reminders

Building new habits isn’t easy, especially because they aren’t quite “normal” to us yet. To help prevent yourself from forgetting about them, try using little reminders for at least the first few weeks or months until it feels automatic. You can place sticky notes in common places like your workspace, mirror, or fridge to remind you, or you can set a calendar event in your phone to remind you of your new habits every day. 

Find an Accountability Partner

If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.  – African Proverb

Having a close friend or family worker as an accountability partner is an effective way to see better results. Even if their own goals differ from yours, telling someone else your action plan can drastically improve your odds of completing it. In fact, you’re about 65% more likely to finish a task and increase your chances of success by up to 95% with an accountability partner.

This also gives you both the opportunity to check in with each other on progress you’re making, or voice struggles along the way. So when you need someone to remind you why you started these new habits or keep you from giving up, you have a person you can rely on — and vice versa!

Go Easy on Yourself 

No one is perfect, especially when changing up our daily routines. Practice forgiving yourself when you forget or slip-up. Spend less time talking down to yourself and more time giving praise over your small wins. If it helps, anytime that negative inside voice starts to speak, imagine you were saying those words to your best friend. It’ll be a lot harder to say those words to someone you love!

You may also take it easy on yourself by starting small, rather than making 10 changes at once. Even if the kind of life you want to live will require a variety of changes, focus on one habit at a time. 

Track Your Progress

Whether you place check marks or stars on a calendar for each day you complete your new habit, or you find a way to measure benchmarks once per month, create a system that allows you to see progress over time. This can help you stay motivated and less likely to let yourself down, once you see how far you’ve come!

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