Learn to change your habits in 9 simple steps.
Because changing your habits is simple if you break it down into nine simple steps.
It doesn’t matter which habit it is, as long as you follow these steps.
9 Steps Habit Change Contents:
- 9 Easy Steps To Change Your Habits:
1. Pick a habit you want to change
2. Pick a time when you want to do it
3. Make it small & short
4. Find your why: Why do you want to do it?
5. Get Support
6. Decide to be a new person that does your new habit
7. Do it
9. Adjust & Increase
- Common Failures
- Action Steps
1. Pick a habit you want to change
Probably you already know which habit you want to change.
If not, here are some simple habits to start:
- Drink a glass of water a day.
- Meditate one minute a day.
- Run for two minutes a day.
- Floss your teeth every day.
Pick something you can do at a certain time every day and be done with it.
Some habits like smoking, gossiping, or playing games are a bit harder to change because they require constant awareness. Not to say, you can’t change them instantly. You can, it is just harder than changing your habits to drink one glass of water a day or to floss your teeth at night.
Start with something that is simple and easy. Especially if it’s your first try at changing your habits.
2. Pick A Time When You Want To Do It
It’s a good idea to tie your new habit to something you do every day, otherwise, it’s easy to forget.
A good time could be:
- After you wake up
- Before or after you brush your teeth
- Before or after a meal
- After you finished work
- Before you go to bed
If you want to pick up meditating, you could put a note on your mirror and meditate each time after you brush your teeth for one minute.
That’s how habit change becomes easy because you can’t forget it.
3. Make It Small & Short
You want to make it as easy as possible for you to succeed. That’s why you should pick something so short and small that you can do it every day no matter what, even when you are traveling around the world or feel sick.
Make it so small that you are sure you will accomplish it.
If you fail, make it even shorter or smaller.
For example, if you want to start running that could mean that you only need to put on your running shoes once a day. That’s it. You don’t need to go for a run.
Of course, if you want to go for a run you can, you can even run for an hour or three, but if you don’t want to you don’t need to. You just put on your running shoes and that’s it.
If you accomplish that successfully for a whole week, you can increase your goal to a one-minute run every day. If you accomplish that for another whole week, make it a two-minute run every day.
Keep it at a level at which you cannot fail and build your habit up from there.
That’s how you are successfully changing your habits.
4. Find Your Why: Why Do You Want To Do It?
What is your motivation to do your new habit?
What is your why?
In reality it doesn’t matter what motivates you as long as you have a why! But of course the stronger your why is the easier it will be for you to accomplish your goal.
- Do you do it for you?
- Do you do it for your family?
- Do you do it for your kids?
- Do you do it for your friends?
- Do you do it to impress others?
- Do you do it to help others?
- Do you do it because of all the above things combined?
What is your why and why do you want to do it?
The more reasons you find the better.
And if your only motivation to work out is to impress the girls on the beach, so what? As long as it works for you, it’s good.
5. Get Support
Support is important. Because if it were easy, you would have changed your habits already.
How support can look like:
- Ask your family and friends to support and cheer you on.
- Get a habit change partner (for example both of you want to quit smoking or pick up running together).
- Join a support group.
- Join a sports team (if your habit change is sports related).
- Put up reminders everywhere (Post It Notes, change the background and screensavers of your PC and phone, have a motivational password).
- Prepare the day or night before (If you want to go for a run tomorrow morning? Sleep with your running clothes on or put them in front of your bed next to your running shoes).
- Get rid of your old crutches (You want to eat healthier? Go through your home and throw everything away that is unhealthy).
- Block distracting websites.
- Write down a plan and what you will do if X occurs (X could be anything). Your day to day will not go as planned every day. Let’s say you want to quit eating junk food but your boss invites your whole team to McDonald’s, what’s your plan? If you are prepared for this situation it will be easy. If not you might rebound and give up your habit change altogether. For running an injury or illness could be X. For smoking a party. Be prepared.
There are a few more ways to get support, but you get the idea.
Don’t let it be destiny or fate if your habit change will be successful.
Be prepared and plan for your success.
6. Decide To Be A New Person That Does Your New Habit
This step might be one of the most overlooked steps in changing your life and your habits.
See yourself as a new person that does your new habit no matter what.
The old version of you that might have been late, ate junk food, or procrastinated is gone. That’s in the past. That was you but you are not this person any longer. You learned from it and it is a valuable part of your past, but it’s not you anymore.
You are your new you that does your new habit, and keeps that up no matter what!
Resolve and decide to be that new person.
There is no going back and what happened in the past is not important anymore.
In the past, you might have failed at changing your habits, but that is not you anymore. From now on. You are a person that gets it right and changes their habits and their life.
7. Do It
This step is the easiest and hardest at the same time. Just do it.
If you followed the previous six steps and decided to be this new person, that does your new habit, that got support, and made it small enough, then doing your habit should be a piece of cake.
Review how your habit change is going every day!
Either use a habit count streak app or journal every day before you go to bed and write down:
- How is your habit change going?
- Which obstacles came up and how can you overcome them?
- What can you do to improve your chances of success even further?
- What was a success till now and how is it changing your life (write down every tiny bit)?
Especially if you didn’t do your habit today you should look at why and what you can do to pick up your new habit tomorrow again.
Note: It can always happen that you miss a day. That shouldn’t be viewed as a failure, but as an opportunity to learn and improve your system even further.
9. Adjust & Increase
If you missed a day adjust your habit.
Why did you miss it?
Was it too hard? Then make your habit easier and smaller.
Did you forget to do it? Connect your habit to something you already do every day.
Did anything unforeseeable happen? Try to plan for that the next time. Write it down.
If you did your habit for a whole week Increase it.
But only as far as you think you can manage. You win nothing by setting the bar too high and then giving up altogether.
Unofficial Step 10. Congratulations
Did you manage to change your habits and change your life? Then throw yourself a party!
It’s no easy feat to change your habits, but you have done it. You have changed your life. Even if it’s a really small change, but nonetheless you changed it. And if you can change one thing, you can change ten other things. And if you can change ten other things you can change your life in any direction that you want.
Congratulations. You are awesome!
You tried to change your habits for a while now, but still can’t do it?
Here are some common reasons why you fail trying to change your habits!
Too much too soon
As described in step 3. make it small, short, and easy.
Most people fail at changing their habits because they want too much too soon.
It’s the magic bullet syndrome and why advertisements work so perfectly, because we want the new life not in one year or five, but right now right here without doing any work.
We want it now. That’s why we try to do it all today and change our whole lives.
Which can work, if you really want it and prepare for it and are willing to burden the difficulties that come with it. But more often than not it fails, because after the first few days or even hours of enthusiasm and motivation your old habits, ways of thinking, and life comes in the way, and your whole plan to change your life falls together.
That’s why short and small steps work best for most people because they are manageable and will lead you to success.
Trying to change habits that are harder to change before mastering smaller ones
Being good or becoming good at habit change is a skill you can acquire. Because the more habits you change the easier it will be for you to change even more habits of yours. That’s why you should start with an easy habit because if you can change one habit you can change all of them.
Built up a support system.
If you don’t build up a support system, it’s like wanting to lose weight and quit eating sweet stuff, but having candy all around you the whole day. Especially if you are tired and hungry. That won’t work.
Instead, try to build up your support system. For example, if you want to run more often, get a running partner. He or she will get you out of the house and running even if it’s 5 am and your not in the mood for any sport whatsoever. Just make sure you pick a partner that will actually be there.
Giving up after the first setback
If you miss to do your habit that doesn’t mean that you are a failure or gives you permission to give up on your new habit altogether. But that ‘s exactly what often happens.
A person fails to do a new habit and completely abondones it after it, as to say: “I know I couldn’t do it. Now I am not perfect anymore. I missed one day, doesn’t matter if I miss a second and a third.”
But it does matter. And you are not a failure for missing one or even a couple days. That’s part of life and part of creating new habits.
The important part is getting back to your habit. Even if you fail again and again until you give up for good it is not over and you are learning constantly. You just have to use what you learn each day to get better at your habit.
That’s how you are gonna be successful by not giving up and going after what you want. You can do it. I know you can and you know too, even if you might not see it right now. But it is there. You can and will do it. Trust the process.
Here is an example how habit change could look like.
Wake Up Early
I decide to wake up earlier (1.).
I want to make it easy, so in the first week I only wake up 15 minutes earlier than I usually do (3.).
I pick a time when I want to go to bed and when I want to get up in the morning (2.).
I set an alarm for my bed- and wake up time, and get my family and friends on board to support me to make sure I get into bed at the right time every day(5.).
Furthermore, I write down why I want to wake up earlier and how it will play a key part in fulfilling my dreams (4.).
Also, from now on I decide to be an early riser. I am a person that likes to wake up early before the sun comes up (6.).
I do it and wake up 15 minutes earlier than I usually do (7.).
I review each day if I made it, how I did, how I feel, and if I need to change something: maybe I want to get more sleep and go to bed earlier or maybe I shouldn’t drink coffee after 4 pm. Perhaps I even failed and have to look at what I can do better tomorrow (8.).
If I make it a whole week waking up 15 minutes earlier I add 15 minutes and go for 30 minutes in week two. If I didn’t make it every day I stay at 15 minutes and only increase it after I complete a whole week of waking up 15 minutes earlier (9.).
That’s it. If I can keep this up for a month, I will be waking up one hour earlier than I usually do. It’s time to party and celebrate (10.)!
This works because you follow a system and if you work the system it works for you.
Disclaimer: If you are a habit change beginner I recommend not to start with waking up early as your first habit change. As it is not as easy as it sounds for most people. But of course you can still do it and you know best which habit you want to change.
I believe in you.
You can do it. Habit change is a skill. And you just learned how to do it.
- Find a habit you want to change.
- Pick a time, make it as small as possible, and get yourself support.
- Decide to be a new person, that does your new habit, and do it!
- Review and adjust.
- Throw a party, because you changed your habit and your life!
To make it even easier, download our free cheat sheet: How to change your habits starting today.