Creating new habits or replacing old habits with healthier alternatives is important to living a more resilient lifestyle. Here are some initial tips for creating a new habit.

  • Once you’ve determined your goal, create a list of small things you can easily do in 30 seconds or less that will support your goal.  Example: 5 push-ups, a drink of water, texting a friend, etc.
  • Create success triggers.  Every time you are presented with a trigger, perform one of your small actions.  Example: Every time a commercial comes on, stand up (you don’t have to do anything else, just stand up for 30 seconds). Avoid or replace failure triggers that lead to bad habits.
  • Track your actions daily and celebrate the small successes you make with a positive reward. Teaching your brain that you can succeed through small goals and that what you makes a difference is crucial to forming a habit.
  • Determine some more difficult tasks that you can do when you are highly motivated that will make it easier to do the same task in the future.
  • Be patient!  If even the smallest tasks are hard to do, make them smaller. Break every difficult task or action into tiny components.  Making progress, no matter how small is still an accomplishment!

Example: Here’s a great example of using the small task/ability/trigger concept to create a healthy habit.
I wanted to get up from my desk and walk around at least once every 30 minutes, so I wrote it on a post it on my laptop, but I get caught up with uni work and just never looked at it. I decided to use the trigger of needing to go to the loo. Instead of walking directly to the bathroom, I would walk to the back of the house, check the dog outside, see if the wash was ready etc etc anything to make the trip a little longer this would also add to my step count for the day since I am also using my pedometer. Then adding to the trigger every time I got up, I would refill my water bottle before getting back to work. Having a full water bottle was then in turn, a trigger to drink more water throughout my time at the desk and eventually get up more often from my desk. Drinking more water and getting up from my desk for a quick walk makes a big difference to how I feel throughout the day and now I do it with little thought, why not give it a go or map out your own plan to create a new habit.