How do you create new habits – and stick with them?

You’ve heard the phrase ‘creatures of habit’, right?

That’s humans in a nutshell. We (usually) get up at the same time every day, follow the same morning routine (shower, get dressed, breakfast, brush teeth, leave the house), go to school or work, eat the same thing for lunch, come home, have dinner, go to bed.

But how do we add something new into the mix?

How do we make getting up earlier to go for a run, or eating more fruit, or reading more non-fiction books a habit that we’ll stick to?

How to create new habits is a question people have been asking for centuries, and it’s a lot simpler to implement than you might think.

Many years ago, my mentor gave me a book called The Compound Effect by Darren Hardy; the ideas in this book blew my mind. It made me realise that, through daily repetition, habits are formed (both good and bad) and those habits kind of become the road map to your life.

Stop for a second and think about that: everything we do each day ends up creating our life, for better or worse.

Often when we know we have to do something, we spend all our time THINKING about it instead of just doing it. I’ll give you an example: for my 30th birthday, my husband bought me some really nice skin care. It was packaged beautifully, so I made sure the gorgeous bottles stayed in the pretty boxes for some weeks. I looked at them every day and thought, “I really should start using the skin care”. I had this thought each morning and night.

Then one day I woke up and thought, “This is so stupid, I should just use the skin care! The products won’t work unless I use them – my skin won’t feel better or less dry or more radiant until I make them part of my routine.” So I took them out of their beautiful boxes, lined them up in order of use and went for it. I used them every morning and every night for three days. I felt like a legend, with extremely beautiful skin.

Then I stopped, because I was in a rush.

To make something a habit, it needs to be done regularly and consistently for a minimum of 30 days.

A habit is cemented if it’s done consistently for 90 days. After 90 days, you no longer think about it; you just do it.

I needed to get back on the horse, so I changed what I told myself. Every day, I said: today I’m investing in my great skin. I focussed on the activity and found it only took me three minutes. Yup, three minutes. That’s not much time to take out of my day. It’s a practice I can easily MAKE time for.

The daily consistency became a habit. It made me realise that if I can do this, then I can apply the same technique to other areas of my life and develop great habits, like reading a book that will help my personal growth, or cooking with a wider range of vegetables to boost my nutrition, or setting the alarm twenty minutes earlier, keeping my sneakers beside the bed, and getting out for a run around the block before I start my day.

Developing habits is simple but it’s not necessarily easy. We form habits by CONSISTENTLY doing something for 30 days. And when you’ve been doing them for 90 days, they’re cemented and become part of your routine.

So, what new habit are you going to create?

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STEM Fast Track shows high school students the possibilities of STEM careers through industry-focused mentoring programs, to help them develop the confidence and resilience needed to thrive in their career and in life. We seek to cultivate young minds that will one day pioneer the technological advancements of tomorrow, giving humanity and our planet the best possible future.

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