The secret of sticking to habits for a long time

Photo by: Jessica Lee Photography

A circle is finished and another just starts. Many of us feel that it is time for a change in their life when they are moving to a new phase of their life. The consolidation of new habits is just the next step to this change. Habits are very well known, who of you does not know them?

The best example is the New Year`s resolution. Now you know what I am talking about? If you have never made some ( I do not believe that this is the case) you can surely enumerate some examples in your circle of acquaintances or in your family. “I like to stop smoking“, would be a typical resolution, or “I start a diet because I like to loose weight something like 15 kg in three months would be great“ or “I learn to say „no“ or “I will not work that much to have more time for me and my family“.

 

Now I would be very curious to hear how many of you have succeeded to stick to their self-made promise. If I ask around in my circle of acqaintances I receive only negative feedback concerning the implementation of new habits. Maybe some of you are successful in building their habits substantially but it is statistically evidenced that we do not keep our self-promises very long after starting into the New Year. According to the magazine Psychologie Heute (2014) 77% of the people were still loyal to their self-promises in the first week whereas only 40% remained after a half of the year.

 

The question is: What do people do differently who are able to build a habit and stick to it over long time periods? What makes the difference in their thinking style?

 

When it is about to make a change the majority of us see themselves standing on the brink. Shortly after we feel overwhelmed and the first thought is “I cannot do this“ or “This is too much for me“ so we demotivate us. Consequently, we give up after a short period of time. Thus we need a motivation to establish our new habit and to stick to it. A good example is a guy (a colleague of mine) – he enrolled to a Tai Bo course and takes part every week because he is very thrilled to meet and chat with the nice trainer.

 

But there is also the possibility to have enough will and motivation but you do not know how to put them into practice.

So which possibilities do we have to keep our habits over a longer time period?

 

The secret is to start with small steps – when you start small the probability raises to stick to what you start. The advantage is: You do not need so much energy to bring up and you do not get demotivated so easily. The other part is: Try to put the theory into practice – only by doing and redoing a thing this gets a routine. A very good observation method is the writing of a success diary. Here you write down all your successes concerning your habit but also motives for failures. You can do this daily/weekly or monthly – but it is important to write in a regular basis. This efficient observation method helps you to discover fields of success to motivate you but also hints for blockades to learn what to change.

 

Conclusion: Make the first step to set the change in motion!

 

Literature

  • Stephen Guise: Mini Habits. Smaller Habits, bigger results. Amazon Distribution, Leipzig 2013.
  • Psychologie Heute – Ausgabe Oktober 2014

 

What do you think about this topic? Please leave a comment and share your own experiences.

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