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Build good habits

What It Takes to Make a Habit Stick

Author: NeuroGym Team | 2021

What did you do this year to make healthy habits last?

You know what we are speaking of—those habits compiled in your list of New Year’s resolutions. Did you stick to them or fail miserably?

A whopping 92% of people struggle with their New Year’s resolutions! But this doesn’t have to be you.

Why Good Intentions Fail Easily

Why did your New Year’s resolutions or midyear habits fail?

You might know the reason or struggle to pinpoint it exactly. Here are some potential causes.

Ideas Were Too Big

You might create habits and goals that are too ambitious. The endpoint is so far away that you get discouraged quickly and give up.

A related problem is having too many new goals and habits starting at once. It’s too much to focus on, and your attention becomes diluted.

Insufficient Planning

If you started your new habit without any planning, then you are setting yourself up for failure. You don’t know how you will get to the end result.

The first sign of difficulty can demotivate you and prevent you from continuing the journey to better yourself.

Finding Excuses

When things don’t go away and you cannot set time apart to work on your habits, you may start to find excuses for the stagnation. It could be blaming other people for disruptions or prioritizing other activities.

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Not Changing Your Current Reality

The real reason you might struggle with your resolutions is that you don’t change behaviors or routines. You don’t alter your thinking about life, and that prevents you from doing better.

What’s Your Mindset?

Your thinking affects every part of your life. If you can change your mindset, you change the way you approach habits.

It's much easier to do than you might think. We will reveal all the secrets to harnessing your brainpower at the Brain-A-Thon. Sign up today—it’s free!

Habits During the Pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic altered life as we know it and propelled habits into the spotlight. People suddenly had extra free time and spent almost all their time at home resulting in life changes.

Researchers wanted to understand this phenomenon better. A British study of almost 70,000 people found interesting results.

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The Impact on Bad Habits

The pandemic wasn’t good for some of the surveyed individuals. Many people said they found themselves in the trap of bad habits.

They began eating many unhealthy snacks. Those who exercised frequently outside the home limited their fitness or stopped exercising altogether.

These are just some of the bad habits people admitted to in the survey. Of course, there are many others like spending too much time in front of screens or indulging in alcohol.

The Impact on Good Habits

On the flip side, the pandemic also allowed people to build good habits which many intend on continuing after life returns to some semblance of normality.

More people started doing meal plans, focused on healthy eating, and started cooking at home. Many families started eating meals together and forged valuable connections around the dinner table.

Some people started being more active and exercising at home. Virtual workouts became popular, and many of those who could get out of the home started cycling or running.

Chats with neighbors became more popular with some people meeting their neighbors for the first time in years. Families and friends connected over phone and video calls. Overall, communicating with others improved during the pandemic.

How Did You Spend Your Time?

For many survey participants, the pandemic was exactly what they needed to concentrate on their habits. It was a sort of hidden blessing to see their New Year’s resolutions come to life.

What did you do during the pandemic? Did you create or break habits?

Hopefully, you were able to lay the groundwork for some good habits.

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Good Habits Will Continue

The pandemic was the opportunity needed by many to change their lives for good. Now, the question becomes: Will these changes persist after people return back to (some kind of) normal daily life?

Most researchers believe the answer is a resounding Yes!

Changes Will Remain

Many companies embraced the idea of remote work during the pandemic and changed their policies so that employees could continue working from home even once they could return to the office safely.

This situation could continue for the near future, although many organizations have accepted it as their new normal.

As people work from home, they have the ability to persist with habits started during the pandemic. They can continue their exercise routines, make meals at home, and spend time with loved ones.

Some people returning to the office might decide to stick to changes. They could decide to pack their own lunches and switch out coffee for water or herbal tea.

Others might opt to cycle or walk to work, as public transport isn’t too appealing.

Actions Become Automatic

It’s quite likely that many people’s habits will survive simply because they have become automatic. The idea is simple: The more you do something, the more it becomes ingrained in your mind—making it easier to do it again.

Studies have found that actions start to become automatic as soon as you have done a new activity daily for two weeks. Knowing that can change your perspective!

You won’t create a new habit in two weeks—it takes about 60 to 100 days to establish a habit—but knowing that your actions become automatic within 14 days should motivate you.

Your thinking changes as you build new habits. After a couple of days, your brain automatically prompts you to take action which makes it easier to do the activity day after day.

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Give Yourself an Advantage

Two weeks to automatic thinking is nothing in the bigger scheme of things, but you can make it easier for yourself by learning how your brain affects your habits.

At the Brain-A-Thon, we explore the hidden potential of the brain and give you the tools to use it for proper habit creation and much more.

Make Healthy Habits Last

You don’t need to wait for 2022 to start a new habit. You can do it right now!

Before you launch yourself into a new habit, you need to get yourself ready. You want your habits to stick, and this requires two things: consistency and commitment.

Consistency

Consistency is all about doing the same thing continuously. All habits require consistency, as you have to take the same actions day in and day out.

Become more consistent by setting a time to work on your new habit daily. Add this to your schedule so that you don’t have any excuse to forget about it.

Think about your new habit frequently so that it becomes part of your neural networks. Imagine yourself doing the habitual tasks frequently and succeeding at them.

Don’t give in to self-doubt. There will come a time when you question your abilities, but you don’t need to listen to your inner critic. Focus on the positives instead and work on your habits.

Commitment

Commitment is about dedication to your habits and not giving up.

Become more committed to your habit-building by setting goals for yourself and creating a plan for how you will achieve these goals. A vision board can be useful for this process, too.

Concentrate on your habits without fail—even on days when you don’t feel like sticking to them. Keep the end goal in sight and understand why every day is another step closer to success.

How to Build Good Habits

Are you ready to create new habits that will improve your life?

Here’s how to do it with ease.

Take Small Steps

After setting the goals related to your habit, you need to break it down into smaller pieces so that you can establish the habit progressively. Look at your habit and segment it into a plan that allows you to achieve milestones along the way.

For example, if you plan on running daily, you could set to run a marathon at the end of the year. To do so, you focus on running two miles daily for a week, then five miles for the next week, and so on until you reach the marathon goal. Along the way, you create a fitness habit.

Celebrate Each Win

As you reach each milestone, congratulate yourself. You are working hard on building your good habits, and that deserves recognition. When you plan your milestones, you could even add tangible rewards to motivate yourself even more.

For instance, promise yourself a new pair of running shoes after a certain number of days, or buy a new kitchen appliance if your habit is about healthy eating. A pat on the back is perfectly fine, too.

Believe In Yourself

Every day, before and after you engage in your habit, spend a few moments taking deep breaths and thinking about what this change means to you. Highlight the important aspects of it and identify your inner motivation.

Visualize yourself being successful, and repeat affirmations to solidify your self-belief. You have already come this far, so you can continue doing well. Look back at the milestones you have achieved already and bask in the glow of that satisfaction to reaffirm your abilities.

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Empower Yourself

You can achieve your goals faster and easier than ever before if you change your thinking. Yes, thinking is also a habit, so you need to alter your mindset to overcome your fears and build your self-esteem.

Join us at the Brain-A-Thon where top brain experts share their knowledge about how the mind affects your habits. This enlightening training will change your brain and your life.

About The Author

NeuroGym Team

NeuroGym Team: NeuroGym’s Team of experts consists of neuroscientists, researchers, and staff who are enthusiasts in their fields. The team is committed to making a difference in the lives of others by sharing the latest scientific findings to help you change your life by understanding and using the mindset, skill set and action set to change your brain.

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