When it comes to building better habits, it’s easy to create lofty goals, hit the ground running full steam ahead, fall off track once things get tricky, and then the inevitable – spiral into a pit of despair and defeat.
Even though you know deep down that changing your habits for the better will help you reach your goals and create the life of your dreams – the thought of doing so can be daunting. Without clear next steps, it can also be an overwhelming process of trial and error.
Here are six ways to actually start building lasting, better habits with more intention, ease, and success from Mindset and Habit Mentor, Katey Sanders.
Choose habits with intention
To build lasting habits – they need to be specific to your needs and lifestyle. Starting a 4:00 am morning routine because you think you should won’t be sustainable if it doesn’t align with your goals. Habits should challenge you but still serve you.
Instead, focus on the habits that help you feel your best – physically, mentally, financially, socially, and so on. Determine the feelings and circumstances you want for your future so that you can create the habits that will lead you to that end goal.
Think about how you want to feel, who you want to be, what you want to be doing, etc. Use those thoughts and feelings to manufacture your motivation.
Practice shifting your mindset
From releasing the all-or-nothing mentality to enjoying the process instead of stressing over the outcome, your mind is something that can make or break what successful habits and routines look like.
Spend time getting to know the mindset barriers that might stand in your way, and start to break them down by utilizing tools like journaling, listening to motivational podcasts, and practicing daily gratitude. Try thinking of the habits as things you ‘get’ to do – rather than must do.
Start habit stacking
Building better habits happens when you’re able to make the habit you want to create more appealing. With healthy habits, we don’t see the benefit immediately, which creates natural resistance.
One easy way to get around this is by stacking the habit you want with a habit you already do. For instance, if you want to get into meditation, stack a five-minute meditation with the five minutes it takes your morning coffee to brew. This helps you create a realistic time to complete the habit, and your mind starts to associate the two practices together.
Track your habits
It’s easy to slip into the all-or-nothing mindset when you don’t have a system for actually monitoring your progress. By tracking your habits, you’ll better grasp on your progress, areas to modify and a realistic timeline for reaching your goals.
If you’ve never thought about tracking habits, think of all the things that automatically track stuff for you. From apps that alert you when to water your plants to your Apple Watch recording workouts – heck, even Netflix monitors your progress.
Find a simple system that will be easy and intuitive to track your habits and start tracking the second you complete the task while it’s still fresh.
Celebrate small goals
No goal is too big or too small to celebrate – just think of all the times your Apple Watch has rewarded you for standing up. Find ways to celebrate and recognize all the small wins you have along the way to your larger goals. This keeps you in the present moment and focused on the process itself.
Once you have a simple system for tracking your habits, it will be easier to recognize what the small wins look like. Consider checking in with yourself at the end of each week to reflect on what went well within your habits and goals.
Make the habit easy & enjoyable
The easier a habit is to do – the more likely it is you’ll do it. Having patterns simplified takes out the guesswork of what to do and when and saves you tons of stress and time.
Look at the ways you can make it easier to make a specific habit. Want a healthy breakfast? Stock up on healthy frozen meals that are quick to make in the morning. Trying to take more vitamins? Set them on your dresser where you’ll see them each morning.
Making your habits more enjoyable will also help you consistently do them and keep you focused on the process. This is why people buy new workout clothes, set rewards for certain milestones, or jam out while working on a project.
Think of how you can make the habit more enjoyable in the moment – without contradicting it – so you’re able to get into your groove.
Want more tools, inspiration, and mindset shifts to create rock-solid habits that let you fully love your life? Connect with Katey on Instagram at @katey_sanders and download her free Habit Hacker Quickstart.