Tips & Tricks

Part 5

We all have things we’d like to change about our daily routines, whether it’s clearing out your inbox more consistently or getting more sleep each night. Sometimes it’s easier said than done – but by following certain techniques, you can make it more likely that your new habits will last!

1. Commit to 30 Days

There’s a lot of ideas circulating around how long a habit takes to form – with a lot of people citing the old myth that it takes 21 days to have something fully become part of your routine.

The truth is that it’s a bit more complex than that, with a study by Philippa Lally at University College London  showing that it takes an average of 66 days to form a habit.

However, researchers did find that the person, the behaviour and the circumstances did massively affect how long the new habit took to form. Some things only took 18 days, others took even longer than the two-month average. So simply put, if you want to start building something into your routine, a great way to start is to set yourself a month-long target and get yourself well on the way to that average benchmark.

2. Be Consistent

If you keep the circumstances of your new habit the same, it will be easier to make it become a natural part of your routine. For example, if you want to make sure you exercise more, try going at the same time, to the same place every day to do it.

By giving yourself specific place and time cues, you’re helping the habit to become automatic, as you’ll be used to recognising them as a signal that you need to be doing that activity.

 

3. Write it Down

When you write something down, you’re challenging your brain to process the idea in a new way. Writing down your new resolution will help you to focus on the end goal that you’re setting for yourself, which is a great first step to starting your new habit.

Also, having visual reminders around is never a bad idea – when things get hectic, it’s easy to forget that extra thing that you’re trying to fit into your daily routine. Why not leave strategic Post-It notes somewhere that you’ll see them throughout your day? For example, tucking one neatly onto your desk to remind you that you need to drink more water might be a great trigger to go and refill your bottle.

Need some Post-It Notes?

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4. Find a Buddy

If you ask a friend to join you in your new habit, then you’ll have someone to help remind and motivate you along the way! This does work particularly well when it’s an activity you can do together, whether it’s heading to the gym as a team after work or grabbing a healthier lunch together.

Even if the habit is one that you’ll carry out separately (like getting to sleep earlier each night or adding some extra skincare to your morning routine), you’ll benefit from having someone else who you can chat to about your progress – and celebrate when it becomes an automatic part of your day!

5. Don’t Beat Yourself Up About It!

This one is tricky when you’re working hard to form a new habit, but it’s important not to feel negative if you do slip up. In the study cited above, researchers did find that “missing one opportunity to perform the behaviour did not materially affect the habit formation process.” So there’s no need to kick yourself if you do miss a day in your new routine!

It’s also important to remember that whatever positive new behaviour you’re trying to reinforce will take as long as it takes – even if you restart the process multiple times, you simply can’t get to day 100 of your great new habit without doing day 1 first.

So give yourself credit for all the days you do manage, instead of beating yourself up about any that you don’t!

We hope these tips help you get out there and start making some positive changes to your day. If you come up with any more, let us know!

Have a great week!

Join us next week for the first part of a new topic!

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