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How to make good habits stick – 5 expert tips

Creating good habits for the year ahead:

Research shows we’re not very good at keeping good habits. It is estimated that 81% of New Year’s resolutions fail. This means you are more likely to fall back into old habits than you are to stick with a new behaviour. As we celebrate the end of 2020 and welcome 2021, with new plans and goals, you may find it useful to read about why good habits can be so hard to stick to and what to do about it. 

How do we set and adhere to new habits?

Here is some advice from Behavioural Psychology and self-improvement researcher and author, James Clear on New Year’s resolutions and goal setting in 2021.

  • Avoid changing everything at once. Pick one thing and do it well. Start with one key habit and set yourself up for success.
  • Pick small changes over big ones. Choose habits that don’t require much motivation to complete by starting small. The smaller the habit, the better i.e. do one stretch per day, join one Pilates class per week. Many clients find it challenging to exercise daily due to work and family commitments. It’s always best to start with what you’re used to and only increase a small amount at a time. If you’ve never done Pilates before, you should start just one class a week, then gradually increase the frequency.

  • Forget about setting goals, focus on the routine instead. Creating the goal doesn’t deliver results, new lifestyles do. Rituals and routines are what turn new behaviours into habits. This is where it becomes automatic and no longer requires excess effort to complete a task. If you stick to a routine that works towards a goal, with the right guidance, multiplied by time, you’ll surprise yourself with the results!
  • Build an environment to promote your new habit. Our behaviours are often a result of the environment we are in. If your environment doesn’t change, you probably won’t either.
  • Slow progress is not no progress. Slow progress usually leads to sustained change whereas fast progress often results in relapse

If you’re interested, have a read of previous mental health and motivation related blog posts:

https://portmelbournephysio.com.au/exercise-motivation/

https://portmelbournephysio.com.au/mental-health-and-exercise/

Here’s to health, wealth and friendships. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from PMPP.

~ Chee

References:

Clear, J. (2018). Atomic habits: Tiny changes, remarkable results : an easy & proven way to
build good habits & break bad ones. New York: Avery, an imprint of Penguin Random House.

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