Human beings are often described as creatures of habit, but the truth is, behaviour change is hard.
As busy people, making a change either means cramming something else into our days, or replacing something that we’re used to doing. Neither option is especially easy, but with planning, making a change is possible.
Whether you are trying to start a new exercise habit, introduce a new process at work or adding study to your already busy life; here are some ways to help your new habit to stick.
One at a time
A common reason that people don’t manage to incorporate change is that they try to adopt more than one new thing. You might have a list of items you’d like to change or pick up but focus on each one in turn. Trying to change a group of things at a time is a recipe for failure. Giving each new habit the focus and time to succeed means you’re more likely to make the change you want.
Find the small steps
Breaking your habit into bits is the best way to make it manageable. Finding the steps in changing your behaviour helps you to feel empowered to make the change. Plan to make these smaller changes gradually, knowing that they will add up to the overall shift that you are looking for.
Create a commitment strategy
Think long and hard about what motivates you, and use this as the basis for your commitment strategy. This is how you’re going to hold yourself accountable. Some options include finding a group to go through the habit change with, for example taking part in a gym program with other people, making an announcement on social media about your new habit, asking someone else to check in with you about your progress, or even making a bet on your likelihood of success.
Have a support team
Make sure you have both support from the people closest to you and find others who are trying to make similar habit changes. At Applied Education, our Student Forum and Facebook Study Group with over 2,000 members, is a valuable network making study easier.