May 162013

Toddler stepsDoes starting a new habit sound like hard work, requiring a lot of discipline, that may peter out?

It doesn’t need to be so difficult; read on to find out how to ease into your new habit in a gentle way that’s likely to succeed.

If you have any doubts about starting your habit, check my Article ‘How To Prepare For A Habit To Stick’, which helps you resolve any initial barriers.

Once you’ve chosen your habit, and dealt with any initial resistance, you’re ready to go! Here are six tips for success.

1. Start with a trial

When you need new shoes, do you buy the first pair you buy?  Sometimes, while other times you try on a few till you find the right pair for you. Same with a new habit, you’ll want to try it our first, to see if it suits you.

Approaching a new habit with a trial period, has a much lighter feel than feeling you’re committing to it indefinitely. I suggest you set a trial period of a week, or a month, and then review where you want to go with your habit.

3. Take baby steps

Toddlers don’t start walking by running a marathon, they start with a step a time, gradually building their muscles, balance and confidence to walk. Same with a new habit, you need to take baby steps, and build up gradually.

Baby steps can be very small indeed, like:

  • eating what your body wants for one meal a day
  • meditating for 3 minutes a day
  • taking a 10 minute walk at lunchtime.
2. Latch onto a routine

You already have daily habits you do routinely such as, waking up, brushing your teeth, finishing work, and eating your dinner.. It’s so much easier to remember a new habit if you latch it onto an existing one.

4. Be accountable

Some people have strong self-discipline to follow through with a new habit. For those who don’t, it’s good to tell a friend or relative what you intend to do, and ask them to check on your progress. Better still, if you can do your exercising, meditating or other habit with a partner, you’ll be motivate each other to show up.

5. Accept lapses

As they learn to walk, toddlers spend as much time falling down, as they do standing up! The great thing is they get up and start again. You’ll likely lapse with your habit at times. Rather than make it a big deal, like the toddler, simply start again without judging yourself.

6. Celebrate success!

As you ease into your new habit, celebrate your achievements with a treat – maybe new trainers, coffee with a friend, or a movie you’ve been wanting to see.

Good luck with your new habit!

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