Our life is an accumulation of single days. It’s the things that we do on a daily basis that impact, where our life is going.
So, if you want to change your life, you have to change your habits.
“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.”Will Durant*
I love that quote. There is just so much truth in it.
If you bring in some consciousness into your life, you’ll notice that you’ll do most of the things all over again – and that’s the case for all of us.
However, each of us has at some point in our lives changed some habits. Maybe even without putting too much thought into it.
Subconsciously, we’ve done the right things to make that new habit stick.
On the other hand, most of us have also struggled at some point with changing our habits.
Have you ever started a new habit or quit a habit?
You were super motivated in the beginning and everything goes smooth the first couple of days.
But after a while, you fall back into your old patterns.
Then you start beating yourself up: “Why can I never stick with anything?” or giving up: “It’s nothing that I can do.”
How can you change your habits?
1. Be Specific
Often we say things like “I want to do more sports” or “I want to get up earlier”.
The problem with these kinds of statements is that they are too unspecific.
It’s hard for you to say when you have done them.
And it’s also easy to be dishonest to yourself and bullshit yourself out of it when things are getting a bit challenging.
2. Know Your Why
Why do you want to start that new habit or quit an old habit?
Knowing your WHY is one of the keys to success.
If you’re why is strong, it’ll keep you going, even on the days that it’s hard.
And it helps you get back on track in case you slack.
Two years ago, I changed to a vegan diet.
I was really surprised, how easy it was. I haven’t had a single day, where I was questioning my decision, because my why is so strong.
On the other hand, I’ve tried a couple of time to start getting up early, at best by 6 am.
In the end, I realized that it’s nothing that I really want (right now) and that I am deeply convinced of as the way to go for me.
Change for yourself, not for others.
Often we end up wanting to change habits because that’s what we feel we’re supposed to be doing.
Because everybody seems to be doing it.
So, be sure, it’s YOUR why, not somebody else’s.
If you can’t come up with any great reason, why you want what you want, maybe it’s not the right thing for you or it’s not the right time yet.
If it’s not a hell yes, it’s a no.
3. Start small, but take action
Nothing will change if you don’t take actions.
But most people want to change too much too fast. Especially over-achievers and type-A personalities. I hear ya!
This means starting small when setting goals.
For example, if you want to start running, you might have the plan that from now on you’ll go running 30 min every day.
It’ll work for a couple of days, but then you get exhausted. Life just seems to happen and there is no time for it.
So instead, start with going running once a week. Or run a super-tiny round, like 5 min., just around the block.
That sounds too small to make an impact, but it’ll get you in the habit. And over time, you can work your way up.
In addition, focus on one habit at a time, instead of trying to implement 20 at the same time.
This relates to no. 1. When we don’t want to commit, we often stay unspecific.
So, make sure you’re specific what you want to change and then commit to it.
Put it down on paper. Just writing things down can increase our commitment to it.
Tell others about it. Most of us are more committed when we’re accountable to others.
5. Be gentle with yourself
Be gentle with you if you “fail”.
After all, we’re just humans.
Sometimes life happens.
Rather than beating yourself up for skipping a day and maybe even telling yourself that there is no point in continuing, focus on getting back on track.
Even the biggest change starts with a single small step.
We often underestimate the impact of small changes over time.
To change your life, just start with one habit that you can change right now.
What is a habit that would have the biggest impact on the rest of your life? Or what would be a habit that easy to change and would set you up for success?
What is your WHY? What’s your first small step to get started?
* Quote often misattributed to Aristoteles