Studies say that once you have made it to 21 days you have formed a habit; now how do you get there?
If you are considering starting a new healthy habit…good news, you are halfway there! Psychologists believe that when trying to make a change in your life you go through a cycle called the “The stages of change,” also known as the Transtheoretical model. Within the Transtheoretical model there are five different stages: precontemplation, contemplation, preparation, action, and maintenance- each stage is self explanatory but click here to learn more.
Quick Rundown of Stages of Change:
If you are already thinking about changing a habit then you are most likely in either the contemplation stage or the preparation stage, which are malleable stages, meaning you are motivated to change.
If you were to be in the precontemplation stage, you would not be considering a change nor would you think there is anything wrong with said behavior.
As for action, this means steps have already been taken to change the behavior and you are currently working on your end goal.
Maintenance phase is where you have achieved your goals but are actively working everyday to maintain your progress and achievements.
Now that you have an idea of the Transtheoretical model you can determine which phase you are in and tailor your goals to match that stage of change. For instance, if you are in the contemplation stage you might need a little bit more convincing and motivation in order for you to achieve your goals.
8 Tips for starting a healthy habit (or stopping a bad habit):
- List out all of your goals and then choose one main goal to put your all of your focus on. This prevents you from feeling overwhelmed, makes it less likely for you to burnout, and makes it more likely to achieve your goal.
- Write out what you want your end result to be and keep this in a spot where you will see it frequently. This could be your bathroom mirror, your fridge, or maybe even on your night stand by your bed.
- Give yourself a feasible amount of time to achieve your goal. (i.e. 1 month to lose 2lbs, 6 months to pay off ½ of debt, etc)
- If your goal takes longer than one month to achieve set monthly check ins for yourself to stay motivated and to hold yourself accountable.
- Track your progress- this could be tracking it in a planner, on a whiteboard, or creating a bullet journal habit tracker. My image below are some examples of the habit tracker I have used/created.
- Reward yourself for successes and don’t be too hard on yourself when you fail-if at first you don’t succeed, try and try again-don’t give up!
- Use reminders on your phone to keep you on track. (I tend to do this for habits such as taking vitamins or remembering to water my plants)
- Use a mobile app to track your habits- my favorite one is called Streaks, very user friendly and you can add up to 12 goals. Check it out here!