We all fall off the wagon. We have the best of intentions, we build good habits, we even enjoy the results, but yet we stop doing the thing. Stop working out, eating right, working the dogs, even making our bed. For whatever reason, we stop doing the thing we know we should do or even want to do and then one day becomes two becomes 120 ...
There are a bazillion reasons this happens with an infinite number of ways you can beat yourself up about it. But we’re not going to go there; we’re not going to focus on the past or on the negative. Instead, here are five keys to sticking to a behavior.
1. Ground yourself in your WHY.
Whether it’s quitting smoking, going to the gym or practicing stays, none of us will do “it” (long term) if it doesn’t really resonate. We can’t train our dogs to make the trainers happy any more than we can lose weight for Mom - we will only stick with the desired behavior if it’s really something we want. So when you are having trouble doing “the thing,” revisit your WHY. Sometimes reminding yourself why you started in the first place is enough motivation. Other times you may find there is another path to get to your WHY. Regardless, dig until you reconnect and reignite.
2. Stick with one thing.
Back in the days when I still made New Year's resolutions, I never made just one, instead, it seemed like a laundry list of things I wanted to change about myself in the coming 365. You can guess the overall result. The thing is, when we take on too much, we can set ourselves up to miss the mark. Instead, take a hard look at your list and determine what’s most important OR what will jumpstart you in the right direction - momentum creates momentum! A little focus can bring forth a lot of success.
3. Schedule your priorities.
Once you know where your focus needs to be, take a look at your upcoming week and see how you can schedule the behavior. Whenever you can slip an activity into your day easily, it has a better chance of becoming a habit. Be sure to lower the bar if you need to in order to build momentum. Then be sure to give yourself a gold star when you do it.
4. Ignore your feelings (some of them).
Fear, avoidance, procrastination, even perfection can be strong feelings and then “reasons” we don’t do the thing we want to do. I know I can procrastinate with the best when I’m afraid I can’t do whatever-it-is perfectly. Remember, you’re not going to do away with or even ignore your feelings - that’s not realistic. What matters is the actions you take when the feelings surface. It’s all about what you do next.
5. Get back on.
And next, you need to get back on the wagon. Or in the game. Or on the horse... You may have to start over every day, waking up each morning to recommit to your desired behavior, but you can do it.Think about how easy it was to start the bad habits?! Just take a little of that energy and apply it to your goals and you’re on your way!