10 Ways to Successfully Continue a Habit

continuingFailure is failure. It can be a tremendous learning tool. It can define who you are. How it affects you; is to your choosing.

I’ve learned what hasn’t worked for me in the past year. With each failure I learned something. You learn how to overpass it, lose emphasis on “failure” and succeed.

Failure is a feedback system that is misunderstood. Don’t be depressed or sad about something not working out. Be proud that you started. That is the hardest thing to do is start.  It’s a challenge, and you get to compete with yourself. Failure can lead you to growth or make you fall. You have the choice.

There are still times when I fail, and that’s okay. I’m not perfect and I have set expectations which are possible to achieve by my standards. I don’t expect to start 10 new habits and continue them in a month. Try to enjoy what you are doing instead of having an end goal only.

Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm. – Winston Churchill

This is what I learned from my “failures”.

  1.  Do research. I find this part to be the most important; with the exception of starting. Someone out there has already started the habit you are trying (and probably failed). People  share their experiences about their habit. How they succeeded, and what they learned from failure. There are personal tips, tools and you can even find motivation. Take notes; and do your research. Knowing is half the battle.
  2.  Write it down. Saying it in your head, or out loud will not make a difference. As the day unfolds, there is a lot happening. You will forget it with time. Write down your habit. One only. Choose when to start (write down the beginning date) and plan it for however long you feel comfortable (write down the ending date). Experiment and see what works best for you. For me I do 30 days. I’ve found this to personally work for me.
  3. One at a time. We all want instant change. Eat healthier, lose weight, exercise, wake up early, etc. We want all of this at once. I am not saying that this isn’t possible; but it is hard for when you are just starting out. Focusing on your new habit allows you to put all of your focus and energy towards one habit. You fully commit. Furthermore, continuing one habit at a time is great for long-term goals. The moment you successfully ingrain a habit into your daily life; it goes on “cruise-control”. It’s becomes a part of your day.  You no longer have to focus as much as before. This allows you to start a new habit. The more habits you continue the easier it becomes to start new ones. While the rest are on cruise control you are building a foundation of habits.
  4. You must want it. Badly. Not maybe, or I think I will. I might just do that. That won’t work. You must want this change badly, otherwise it won’t happen. Make a clear promise to yourself. Imagine the whole world is watching you. You are on stage. Put yourself in a state that you can succeed.
  5. Have a mantra. A simple phrase or word. Motivate yourself whenever you feel you can’t continue. I say it daily to myself. My favourite is: “Nothing can stop me from being me.” It always gets me motivated!
  6. Log it. Log your progress. I make 30 boxes (for 30 days) and do a checkmark at the end of the night whether I continued my habit or I didn’t. If I fail, I will write down why and what triggered my failure. This is great for keep a record of your progress. You can use these as reference and stepping stones towards your own personal success.
  7. Visualize triggers. If you are trying to eat more healthy, visualize your daily scenarios. See a possible trigger that might come up. For example, if go out quite often to eat at restaurants; what will you do when you’re presented with a menu (options of your choice)? Will you choose an unhealthy food choice? What if your friends are ordering food for everybody? Will you eat by yourself? If you visualize the possible scenarios and triggers you will be ready. You can tell yourself you will order a healthier meal or simply stop eating out so much. This is a pre-plan to omit any future failures. If you are not ready then the impulse will just take over.
  8. Have support. It’s easier. If you can find a friend, partner or someone to do this with you it’s easier. You can motivate each other to continue; share information and talk about each others progress. If you choose to do this alone, tell your friends, family, partner or someone online. Not only can they help, but they can motivate you. If you need motivation you can always read forums, blogs and books about people success. Whenever I’m feeling low on motivation I always look up quotes.
  9. Don’t tune in to negativity. Don’t just quit something after a few days because of “failure”. There will be self-talk in your mind about failure. Thoughts are no more than noise. You do not have to tune in if you choose not to. Just watch the noise happen. Don’t tune in and let it control you. Don’t get attached to expectations. If this is your first time starting you will fail at one point. Instead of letting it control you, use it to your advantage.
  10. Continue, then continue. To some people 30 days might seem too long. One habit at a time allows you to apply all of your focus and energy into continuing one habit. This way your focus does not become widespread to multiple habits. Start with one habit, focus only on it and continue until you reach your end date.

Don’t worry about failures, worry about the chances you miss when you don’t even try. – Jack Canfield

There might be a few failures along the way, but there is always a lesson to be learned. Don’t forget to be easy on yourself, and take it slow.

Once you reach your end date. Reward yourself. Congratulate each milestone. This is your glory. You did it!

You’ve taken the biggest leap; a first step.

How do you stick to your new habits? Let me know in the comments below.

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Comments

  1. Cody says

    Thank you for the article dragos. I very much enjoyed the points you point out about habits. I’m going to try and use some of these pointers to help me out my new habit of exercising

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