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3 Ways to Build Lasting New Habits

Okay, it’s time to fess up. Until recently, I’ve not always been good at sticking to new habits. Oh sure, I can come up with a myriad of ideas for new ones, but when it comes to implementing them permanently, I’ve not been great in some areas of my life.

I’d think of a new idea and all fired up, I’d start enthusiastically. Day one was easy, but by day three, the wheels had all but fallen off. What I needed was some fail proofstrategies to make quitting less likely. And, not to overwhelm myself with too many new habits at once.

For me, this has been particularly evident with my weight. After decades of yo-yo dieting, trying every eating regime in the book, I’ve finally found a way to reduce and manage my weight in a healthy way.

We all know that habits are the building blocks of our lives, shaping our behaviours, routines, and ultimately, our destinies. Whether positive or negative, our habits have a profound impact us. Today I want to delve into the science of habits, explore strategies for building positive habits, and discuss techniques for breaking those that no longer serve us. By understanding habit formation and transformation, you can take control of your life.

Understanding Habits

Habits are automatic patterns of behaviour that are formed through repetition and reinforcement. They are driven by neurological cues, routines, and rewards, and become ingrained in our brains over time. While some habits propel us toward our goals and aspirations, others may hinder our progress and hold us back from reaching our full potential.

Building Positive Habits

  1. Identify Your Goals: Define clear and specific goals that align with your values and aspirations. Your habits should support these objectives and contribute to your overall growth and well-being. If you want to increase your brain capacity and function, your goal might be to engage in reading or study something.

  2. Start Small: Break down your goals into manageable steps and identify one small habit that you can start incorporating into your daily routine. Focus on consistency rather than intensity. A few minutes a day initially, is far better than nothing at all and will get the new habit underway.

  3. Create Trigger Cues: Associate your new habit with a specific cue or trigger that prompts you to take action. Whether it's a time of day, a particular location, or a preceding activity, cues help to initiate the habit loop. Taking your supplements each morning with your breakfast is a great way to ensure you’re regular rather than sporadic.

  4. Establish a Routine: Develop a regular routine or schedule for practicing your new habit. Consistency is key to solidifying the habit and integrating it into your daily life. Setting an alarm on your phone to practice mindfulness each day at a certain time will ensure you do not forget.

  5. Reward Yourself: Reinforce your new habit with a meaningful reward or positive reinforcement. Celebrate your progress and acknowledge the effort you've put in, whether it's with a small treat, a moment of relaxation, or words of self-praise.

Breaking Negative Habits

Identify the cues or triggers that prompt your unwanted habit. Maybe you reach for the cookie jar when you’re feeling sad or frustrated, or maybe you find it hard to motivate yourself when you are bored or stressed. Understanding the root cause can help you address the habit more effectively.

Next, replace the negative habit with an alternative. Going out for a walk or having a glass of water is far better than a sugary snack.

Make it easier to break old habits by removing temptations. Having only healthy foods in the house means you have no other option.

Be kind to yourself throughout the process of breaking a habit. Understand that setbacks are a natural part of the journey, and treat yourself with compassion and understanding. If you need support, call a friend, family member, or engage a coach or mentor for encouragement and accountability.

Building and breaking habits is a journey of self-discovery and personal transformation. By cultivating positive habits that align with your goals and values, and consciously addressing those that no longer serve you, you can unlock your full potential and create a life of purpose and fulfillment. Embrace the power of habits as tools for personal growth, and embark on a path towards becoming the best version of yourself.

If you’d love to connect, I’d be honoured. You can book a session from as little as US$30 (NZ$50), take my online course, or read my book, Flourish.

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With love,

Kathryn x


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