You can probably think of at least one or more things that you would like to be doing better. How about eating healthier, reading more, drinking enough water, getting more sleep, exercising more, living on a budget, or getting organized? Read on to learn how to turn your goal into a habit that sticks with a habit tracking chart.
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These are all healthy habits that most of us would like to make happen in our lives. But if you’re looking at that list and thinking “yes, I’d like to be doing ALL of that” you’re probably going to get overwhelmed fast.
Habit experts often tell us that we should pick ONE habit to focus on at a time. But if the habits are related, like exercise and weight loss, you can still be successful in making the new habits stick.
And that’s the point of trying to form a new habit after all, right, to make it stick?
So, how long does it actually take to form a new habit? You’ve probably heard that it only takes 21 days to form a new habit, right?
Well, current research says it actually takes at least two months (about 66 days) to make that habit stick. Some habits will take less time to form and others will take longers.
But, on average, it’s going to take you at least 60-days to form a new habit.
You know what that means, don’t you?
You have to really want to to do this because it’s going to take hard work, perseverance, and grace.
To make it easier for you, I’ve come up with some simple steps to make this process doable.
And, I’ve created a FREE habit chart printable to track your progress. Continue reading to learn how to get the free printable.
5 Simple Steps To Form A New Habit That Sticks
Step One: Choose Your Habit
The first step in forming a habit is to determine what it is you’d like to accomplish.
Do you want to exercise more?
Drink more water?
Remember, you need to choose just ONE habit to focus on unless they are related, then you can choose two.
Like me, I’m sure that you already have a lot going on in your life so pick something that is realistic and won’t require a total overhaul of your current life.
“The secret of getting ahead is getting started. The secret of getting started is breaking your complex overwhelming tasks into small manageable tasks, and starting on the first one.” -Mark Twain
Step Two: Create SMART Goals
The second step in forming a new healthy habit is to match it to a goal.
Take a look at your personal growth goals and decide which of these goals are most important for you to work on in the next 90 days.
Based on your assessment, pick a habit that will support your goal.
Have you heard of SMART goals?
SMART goals are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Timely.
To get started on the path to forming your new habit, you need to first write out your goal by asking yourself these questions. Is it:
Here’s an example. Let’s say my personal growth goal is to eat healthier. To support that personal growth goal, I decide that I will drink more water.
To make drinking more water a SMART goal, I would need to write it out to meet each of the SMART objectives. My goal should say something like “I want to drink 64 ounces of water a day. To do this, I will drink at least 20 ounces of water with each meal.”
Now it’s your turn, go ahead and turn your habit into a SMART goal by asking yourself the questions above.
You’ve now created a habit goal of drinking at least 20 ounces of water with each meal.
Step Three: Designate a Trigger
Step Three is to designate a trigger. A trigger is something that reminds you to do your habit.
You will designate a trigger, like the alarm clock in the morning, to associate with the habit you are forming.
Or, in the example of drinking water, the trigger could be sitting down to eat a meal.
By putting a trigger in place, your response to this trigger will become automatic over time. This is how you’ll form your habit.
A trigger can be an event, a feeling, or even another habit.
It can be something that you already do, like eating a meal.
You want to keep it simple but it also needs to be consistent and happen at the same time each day.
For example, “when I get home after dropping the kids off at school (the trigger), I will immediately put on my yoga puts and start my workout.”
Think about something you can put in place right before you do the habit.
What’s your trigger?
Step Four: Create a Visual Habit Tracking Chart
A visual chart is a great way to remind yourself of the habit you are working towards. You can see my visual chart in the photo above. The visual chart has 4 elements. It:
- Lists the habit.
- Includes the benefits of creating the habit.
- Encourages you to mark off each day you do the habit.
- Allows you to include a reward for when you’ve completed the habit for 60-days.
Visual cues help keep you motivated.
As you mark off each day, you can visualize yourself getting closer to achieving your new habit goal.
Step Five: Reward Yourself
In Charles Duhigg’s best-selling book, The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do In Life and Business, Duhigg talks about the power of a “Habit Loop.”
A habit loop includes a cue (trigger), routine (the habit), and a reward.
The reward should come right after you perform the habit.
In the example of drinking water, the reward might be the feeling you get from knowing you achieved your goal for that meal of drinking at least 20 ounces of water.
And that’s it. If you follow these 5 simple steps, you will be well on your way to having a new healthy habit in 60 days.
Most importantly, please remember to give yourself grace during this process.
You are working hard and will probably have an off day or two (or more). That’s okay! Just pick up where you left off. Remember it’s the small steps that will lead you to the big result!
Don’t forget to download your FREE 60-Day Habit Tracking Chart printable below.
I’d love to hear about your progress in forming your new habit. Just leave a comment in the comments section below.
With Love and Joy,