Six Steps to Making Better Habits

Greg Geiger |

As the new year and new decade approaches, many people will want to get started on forming better habits. Changing your lifestyle can be a bit of a challenge at first, but it can definitely be done. Small steps here and there can lead to a happier, healthier, and better life ahead of you. Here are six steps to developing better habits:

View Yourself Differently

A keystone habit is one that improves a variety of other habits by helping you see yourself in a different way.  If you exercise, you tend to feel better about your body, eat more healthfully and procrastinate less often—a three-for-one deal. By first envisioning yourself as a stronger and healthier person, you will achieve a better lifestyle.

Baby Steps First

Start small for lasting outcomes. For example, if you want to floss more often, start by flossing just one tooth.  Yes, that sounds silly, but eventually, if you start lazily, you’ll get in the habit of having the floss in your hand once or twice a day, and you’ll address those other teeth in your mouth.  If you start off too ambitiously, meanwhile, the habit is never formed in the first place. To have lasting results, start off slow to finish strong.

Create a Plan

Make a plan for how you’re going to follow through on the resolution.  Planning is one of the best ways to meet your accomplishments. Start off simple by writing down your goals, and putting your times to exercise on your calendar, can improve your odds of keeping your resolution.

Bribe Yourself

This one might sound a little unconventional, but it can do wonders for creating better habits. Pick something you want, and give it to yourself only if you follow through on your resolution.  One study participant wanted to listen to the audiobook of the Hunger Games, so she only allowed herself to listen to it at the gym. Suddenly, she was looking forward to sitting on the exercise bike. Small bribes here and there can lead to awesome results. 

Set Reminders

It’s imperative to always remind yourself of your goals and the life changes you are hoping to make.  Small things like setting the alarm app on your phone to encourage you to save money, reduce smoking, or to remind yourself to go to the gym.  You can make a checklist of the things you want to do every day.

Enlist Your Friends

Get your friends to help you keep your promises to yourself.  They can be your biggest support system through it all. As your support network, they can hold you accountable for help to stop smoking or spending more time at the gym.  They can even show you support by joining you in accomplishing these goals.