Instill New Positive Habits

By: Angela Stringfellow

Do you know how long it takes to form a new habit? On average, it is said that it takes about 21 days, or three weeks, to form a habit. So with the New Year approaching us, I thought it appropriate to talk about instilling new positive habits for those of us who set New Year's resolutions. With that being said, also note that it takes about twenty-one days to break an old, bad habit. So whether you're trying to start something positive, or rid yourself of a negative habit, the news is good - three weeks. Three weeks doesn't seem all that long if you think about it, now does it?

With the three-week goal in mind, developing new habits or getting rid of old doesn't seem that intimidating. All you have to do is focus on those first three weeks, and after that, the going gets easier. Even if you don't have any bad habits you want to get rid of (if that's you, I'd encourage you to take a closer look, we all can improve somewhere), it's important to continue the self-improvement process by trying to pick up little positive habits here and there. It doesn't even have to be anyting major, such as vowing to get up three hours early every morning to do a high-intensity cardio workout.

The little things are sometimes just as important. Decide to make a habit of taking the dog for a walk each morning, or taking a bag of baby carrots to work to snack on instead of buying potato chips from the vending machine.

It takes three weeks to form a new habit, so if you pick a little thing here and there and work on it for awhile, you can pick up new little positive habits pretty frequently. When all those little positive habits start to build up, you can look back and be proud of all the positive changes you've made in your life. Start small before tackling the big ones. Take five minutes each morning before you get out of bed to think positive affirmations. This alone could make a tremendous difference in each day of your life, and allow you to start your day in a positive and happy mood. Once you've tackled several small things, you will start to feel more confident in your abilities to change your behaviors and you'll feel like you can do anything (and, of course, you can!).

The key here is to make sure you diligently follow through each and every day for the first three weeks. We want to make a new habit, so these things become part of your daily routine without you even thinking about them. We don't want you to do something and have to force yourself to suck it up and do it each and every time, we want it to come naturally, so you feel good about it. Think about how good it will feel when a friend asks you how you manage to stay so fit, and you casually respond that you get up half an hour early every single day and go for a jog. Your friend will then praise you for being so driven and dedicated. You can secretly chuckle because it's not that big a deal for you - it's just what you do without even thinking.

Once you master a new habit, pick another one. Soon you will find yourself doing all sorts of wonderful things that are good for you, and it's just your way of life. Hopefully, picking a new positive habit will also eventually become a habit for you, and a part of your routine that you look forward to. It's a small step to take towards becoming the person you know you can be.

Motivation
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