8 simple steps to form a habit
Dr. Maltz in his book " Psycho- cybernetics" mentioned that it takes 21 days to form a new habit.
In 2009, Phillipa Lally and her team derived the conclusion that it takes 66 days to form a new habit.
What I believe is that each one of us is unique and take our own time to get there. What's most important is to start.
For me personally, I have observed that it takes around 30 days to form a new habit. Back in 2018, when I initially came across veganism, and I wanted to incorporate that in my life, I tried and kept my eating clean for 30 days and after which it just became a part of my life. I am not claiming that it was easy, hell no. I even had fallen back the trail a couple of times but the major point is to just get back up.
So here I am giving you some simple and effective tips for habit formation.
1. Be aware of your decision:
Make sure you gather information about this new habit you want to imbibe. Learn about it. Understand its pros and cons. In this way, you will be more prepared and taking a decision would be much easier. For example, when I wanted to give veganism a shot, I read about it, researched, asked people who had a similar lifestyle and then gave it a try. I kind of knew what to expect down the journey. It was a sudden diet change and I knew my body would react, I had headaches, stomach upsets but I knew its just an initial resilience by the body and I didn't give up.
When you know what to expect, you can curate some strategies to tackle the obstacles.
2. Fix a time or curate a schedule:
This works like magic. I wanted to start getting up early and have a headstart in a day. So I fixed a time- 5 AM. I started pulling myself out of the bed every single day for at least three weeks in a row and now my body is awake by the time it's five. It's like a biological clock is set up. So make sure your new habit has a time and schedule.
If the new habit you want to achieve is going to the gym, then make sure you go by the same time every day. your body gets used to it and you are better off.
3. Start small but keep going:
This goes a long way. The quote " slow and steady wins the race" is apt and true. Both the words 'slow' and 'steady' are the highlights here.
When I started the veganism journey, there was so much advice floating all around like "stop all at once". I didn't give in to the pressure. I started slow and kept moving. I initially stopped meat. Then when I realized that my body is comfortable with this change, I moved on to milk products.
In this way, you don't give sudden shocks to your body and wouldn't lose interest midway.
4. Be prepped:
And by this I mean, visualize the next day of yours before you go to bed and keep things ready. If your new habit is to go for a run in the morning make sure you have your running attire, shoes, socks and everything necessary be taken out and arranged.
This may sound silly, but our mind does play tricks at times. One of them is telling you that its too much effort and coupled with the early morning hours, we won't battle the feeling, and instead, sleep in.
5. Why power:
Let's just face the reality that not every day we feel motivated. There are days when we just want to sulk back and not do things that we are supposed to be doing. At such times "why power" helps. Why are you doing what you are doing? Your 'why' should be clear. If you have a crystal clear answer to that, it gives you that extra push to keep going.
6. Make yourself accountable:
When you have made a decision to incorporate a new habit to your life, tell your near and dear ones. Or join communities where you have people striving for the same habit as you. They will keep you accountable and motivated. As a newbie vegan, I joined some vegan communities, they kept me on track when I had hard days. Ask someone close to you to just help you out in the initial days so that your body just recognizes and sets the pattern.
7. Track your progress:
Keep an account of your daily activity and track the progress you made. And if you have hit the goal you had set, reward yourself. Use your progress as an accelerator in your journey.
"The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step"
Whenever you experience a glitch in your journey, stop, pause for a while, evaluate what went wrong, change the strategy, not the goal and keep going...