Last Updated on December 27, 2019
We’ve all heard that it takes 21 days to form a habit, but unfortunately, that’s not exactly true. It can take closer to 60 days to stick to new habits which is pretty daunting to think about.
Doesn’t that make you not want to even try? Sometimes I think about the habits I’ve had in the past and how hard it was to change them. It definitely took longer than 21 days to be consistent.
And then there’s my current habit of snoozing my alarm that I’m determined to change (well, sort of determined, otherwise it would have happened by now, right?).
It’s overwhelming to create new habits, especially if you keep trying and failing. Though we may blame it on lack of our own willpower or ability, that’s not a good enough reason to stop trying.
In this post, I’m sharing what mindset shifts need to happen to help you form new habits and make them stick.
Your Mindset + Habits
Going from bad habit to good habit can be frustrating when you’re having trouble maintaining it.
If you’re not making progress and keep going back to your old habits, you might create a story in your mind that you don’t have the willpower to do it.
But if you’ve been doing your current habit for a prolonged period of time, your body and your mind are used to doing it. You’re going to default back to it because it’s familiar and comfortable.
For example, if you want to start exercising daily for 30 minutes but you don’t currently work out at all, you’ll naturally think it’s too hard and find ways to get out of doing it.
Instead of blaming yourself for not having the willpower to change, give yourself some credit. It’s hard to change something that you’ve done for so long. Don’t let your old beliefs convince you you’re not capable of change. Every moment is a choice to keep trying.
Related Post: 7 Positive Habits That Have Changed My Life
How to Stick To New Habits
Right now I’m working on not snoozing my alarm and getting out of bed earlier. I thought I was being smart by putting my alarm far away so I have to get up to turn it off. But what happens is I get out of bed to turn off my alarm and then immediately climb back into bed. I tell myself I’ll rest for a few minutes, which of course leads to me falling back asleep again.
There was a time when I would wake up and read in bed, and that worked for a while but only because I can’t fall back asleep if I’m sitting up. Now the real habit I want to achieve is to get out of bed earlier. Otherwise, I could wake up at 7 am but stay in bed until 8 am reading. I’m not trying to create loopholes for myself.
Ultimately I want to jump out of bed as soon as my alarm goes off and not talk myself out of it. I know there’s Mel Robbins’ 5 Second Rule, but I haven’t had much success with that.
Part of the problem with my current habit was that I didn’t have a specific action to take as soon as I wake up. Often I’d get up and didn’t know what to do first – should I make breakfast, workout, read, meditate?
Using Comfort Triggers
Something I’ve been trying lately is finding a comfortable trigger that helps move me closer to my new habit of getting up earlier without it feeling impossible.
Since we cling to old habits because they make us feel comfortable, I figured there must be a way to make new habits easier for ourselves by making them more comfortable. I know new habits are supposed to get you out of your comfort zone, but sometimes doing things cold turkey doesn’t always work.
I’m convinced that creating new habits is all about tricking your brain.
In my case, I thought about how I could mimic the comfort of my bed without having to stay in bed. What’s cozy and inviting? Maybe putting on a sweatshirt right away, making a warm cup of tea, or wrapping myself up in a blanket and walking around with it on until I’m fully awake (you know you’ve done it before).
The thing is that it’s working. Now when my alarm goes off, I put on the sweatshirt that I’ve laid out and go to the kitchen to make tea. I sit on the couch for a few minutes reading a book while I drink my cup of tea. I’m out of the comfort of bed, but I’ve made the uncomfortable situation of waking up earlier a little more comfortable.
Anyway, that’s what I’m exploring right now and I wanted to share in case it helps you on your journey to create better habits.
Other ideas for comfort triggers:
- If you’re trying to get to the gym every day, what will give you some comfort during the discomfort? Maybe that’s watching Netflix on the treadmill or wearing your comfiest activewear.
- If you’re trying to eat healthier, challenge yourself to recreate healthier versions of your favorite comfort food.
- If you’re trying to reduce your coffee consumption, try swapping coffee for a different type of warm and comforting beverage like tea or turmeric latte.
What habits are you working on changing?
Leave a comment and share what habits you’re working on right now!