A few weeks ago, I mentioned on Instagram a few things that help me stick to my good habits.
I love habits because it makes my life more streamlined and lets me spend my brain power on the things that aren’t routine.
I love my laundry habit and my meal planning habit because I KNOW my life requires both laundry and food and I don’t want to be scrambling to manage things that I know 100% are going to be required to keep my life running smoothly.
If those things are tripping me up, I REALLY have no bandwidth to manage extra things that come up like a sick child, last minute work projects, a field trip, company in town or other non-regular events.
My habits mean that the normal things run pretty smoothly so I can navigate the surprises that inevitably come along in my life.
Here are seven of my best tips for building and sticking to new habits!
8 Simple Habit Building Tips
- Keep it simple. The more complicated your habit is, the harder it is going to be to stick with it. I make my bed every single day and my bedding is streamlined so that it’s not a big ordeal to make it. I don’t have one million throw pillows or fussy sheets and blankets. Duvet, blanket, and a few pillows. Done and done!
- Focus on when I have the most energy and bandwidth. I’m a morning person – I have high energy at the beginning of the day and also at the beginning of the week, so I exercise in the morning and do laundry on Monday. I know myself well enough to know that by the time Friday afternoon comes around, I’m not high energy anymore. Putting habits in a place that matches the energy they require makes a HUGE difference for me!
- Create momentum in the direction you want to go. I eat the same breakfast every day and one reason I love it is because it starts every day for me with protein and vegetables and NOT sugar. It’s easier to eat more nourishing foods during the day when I’ve started with good foods, whereas if I eat a doughnut first thing for breakfast, that’s going to get me going down a path I don’t necessarily want to be on. Similarly, making my bed first thing means that I’ve started my day with order and routine, which makes it easier to stick to those values throughout the day.
- Streamline things in a way that makes it easier to stick to your habits. I want to exercise every morning, so in the evening when I’m getting in my pjs, I also put out my workout clothes for the following morning so it’s easier to just put them on and go for a run first thing. I keep my daily synbiotics on the microwave where I see them every morning and I’m not digging around for them in a deep cupboard.
- Build habits that actually matter to you. Maybe you don’t really care about having a made bed but you feel like you should because your mom cares about it or someone on Instagram does. It’s hard to stick to something that you don’t actually care about doing. Spend your habit energy on things that really truly matter to you and that you want the results of for yourself!
- Habits don’t have to be forever. Seasons change and what worked for you or mattered to you when you were 25 might not be valuable to you when you’re 35 or 45 or 65. Build habits that work for your life NOW and if and when it is time to retire them, move on to new habits that work for that season of life.
- Pick ONE habit to focus on. It can be tempting to try to change everything at once or build 50 new habits in January, but that is too wearing for most people. Pick one habit to really get good and then when it no longer takes much effort, you can add another habit.
- Reduce decision fatigue. The less decisions you have to make about your habit, the easier it usually is to keep it up. Once I decided to exercise 6 days a week (I take off Sunday), I didn’t have to decide every night and every morning “should I work out today? Should today be a sleep in day?” and that made it so much easier.
I also asked on Instagram what worked for habits and there were so many good suggestions – here are my favorites!
- Writing it down and tracking progress!!
- I meal plan, grocery shop and lesson plan every Sunday afternoon.
- I’ve emulated your habit of working out 6 days a week. No planning involved!
- Doing the thing every day for consistency. Easier when it’s a for sure thing. No way out of it.
- Making them as rote as possible and doing them every single day until they become like clockwork
- Taking my water bottle everywhere even if I leave it in the car. I come back and drink
- Thinking of it as a long term, lifelong goal. Not just a short term one and done thing
- Adding instead of subtracting – not “be on my phone less” but “knit instead while watching TV”
- Habit stacking with visual cues/touch points in my home
- Making kids lunches the night before. Our mornings are so rushed it would add extra chaos
- I’m better at habits that serve others, so stacking tasks for myself with tasks for my family/friends
- Acknowledging that habits are always hard for me (ADHD Brain) and will never become 2nd nature. With that in mind, I don’t give up as easily if it benefits me and consider more what is most critical.
- Thursday evening meal plan, Friday grocery order pick up
- I think of how thankful future me would be fore current me making constructive decisions
- Having a feasible plan
- Habit stacking! Vitamin drink then coffee. Reading during kids bedtime.Laundry TikTok
- Pairing a thing I hate doing with something I enjoy doing
- Dishes done every night!
- Pick one to focus on and stick to it
- Not thinking about it! If I start thinking do I want to floss today I will find a reason not to. Don’t think!
- I love the tip from Atomic Habits: Think about how you identify (a runner, a reader, a good mom, etc.) and then ask yourself: what would a runner do now? And then do that! That’s helped me to adopt changes
Any other great tips for simple habit building? I’d love to hear!
if you liked this post about Simple habit building, you might also like these other posts:
- My favorite non-fiction books to start off the year right
- All about my once-a-week laundry routine
- If You Liked Atomic Habits, try these books