One of the best pieces of advice you will receive about forming new habits is that you should only form one at a time. When you attempt to change too much at once, it almost always leads to failure. This can overwhelm you, frustrate you, and give you too much to change.
When this happens, you feel like you can’t accomplish what you set out to, and you won’t try again in the future.
The Importance of Sticking to One New Habit at a Time
You Can’t Change Everything at Once
Remember that you can’t do everything at the same time, just like you can’t develop a bunch of new habits at once. This is almost impossible for anyone, since you need a good amount of focus and concentration.
If you have 10 different daily habits you want to change, choose ONE first, then move on to the next habit.
It is simple too much to try to change your entire life in one day and expect your mind to wrap around that, and suddenly become a completely different person. Just like when you create goals, you need to be realistic with your new habits and take your time.
You Want to Succeed
Trying to do too much at once is just setting yourself up to fail. If you really want to create lasting, lifelong habits, you need to choose them one at a time, and only focus on one new habit at once.
As an example, imagine you are starting a business. When you start a new business, you take it one step at a time. You think about the type of business before choosing a name, then you decide on financing, before hiring people. You are not going to create the entire business from beginning to end in one day, and be making money by tomorrow.
Be patient and give yourself time. This is how you will succeed when creating new habits.
You Need Complete Focus on Your Habits and Goals
Remember that creating new habits is similar to goals. You want complete focus and concentration on your new habits, otherwise it is going to be hard to stick to them. By choosing one habit at a time, you increase your chances of success, gain momentum, and can track your progress before you even think about other habits you want to add to your daily life.
See also: Prioritizing Over Balancing
How to Choose New Habits to Work On
When you are busy creating new habits to improve your life, remember that you can have a new habit for each area of your life. You don’t have to be restricted to just healthy habits or just regular daily habits. There are many different types of habits that will benefit you greatly.
Where are You Falling Behind?
Before creating your first new habit, think of where in your life you are falling behind. This doesn’t mean you are an outright failure, but just an area of your life where you don’t focus as much attention as the other areas of your life. Most people have at least one. This might mean you work hard, but neglect your health.
Or you eat very healthy, but you have trouble saving money. Maybe you don’t get enough sleep because you are always distracted at night.
This can tell you what areas need improving first before moving on to other habits.
What do You Complain About the Most?
Another way to figure out where your new habits should start is based on what you tend to complain about. Think about the last time you complained to someone or yourself about what isn’t going your way, or what isn’t working in your life.
Do you complain that you are always late to work? What about the fact that your bills are late or your clothes don’t fit? Are you frustrated because you never have enough time to get everything done? These are good signs of where your habits should start.
Choosing Your New Habits
Remember that even if you come up with a list of new habits to form in your life, you still want to start with just one at a time. Even if you have 5 small habits all for the same end result, you want to start with just one of them before moving on to the next.
How do you know it is time to develop a new habit? When the last one you created is something you don’t even have to think about anymore. That is when you know you are ready for the next habit.
Everyone has habits each day of their life, even if you don’t realize it. They aren’t always something you constantly think about. It might be your cup of coffee in the morning or the way you drive to work. What you want to do now is create new habits that will further improve your health and your life.
Why you may need to change your new habits
Forming New Habits: Change What Doesn’t Work
After you have created some simple habits to change in your life, take a step back and look at the results so far. This is where you can decide if you will continue with this habit, or if it might be time to call it quits, or just adjust part of it.
When a New Habit Doesn’t Work
To start with, every new habit you start is not going to be something you stick with forever. There are some that absolutely will and will probably change your life for the better. But just like other things you attempt in your life, they are not all going to be perfect from beginning to end.
It is okay to take a step back, consider where you are, and whether or not once of your new habits is working for you. This doesn’t mean you chose a bad habit, but that it doesn’t work for you personally, for your schedule, your lifestyle, or where you are right now in your life.
Remember that your priorities and goals can change as you go through life, and it’s okay for your habits to change along with them.
Did You Give it Enough Time?
Before you decide to ditch or change one of your new habits, give it enough time. The amount of time changes depend on the type of habit and your personal goals, but about 30 days is a good amount of time. This is long enough where it became something you did every day, and should have gotten to a point where you didn’t even have to think about it.
However, if you have been doing one habit for 2 months, and you still don’t see any benefits from it, or it still feels like pulling teeth every time you get up to do it, then maybe it isn’t the right one for you.
Tracking Your Progress and Making Changes
This is why tracking your new habits is so important. You can actually see how long you have been doing it, if you have been consistent, and in what ways it is benefiting you. If you start a new job and put in the work, you expect to be paid for your efforts. The same can be said for when you work really hard on a new habit or goal, and it just doesn’t pay off in the end.
You want to choose habits you can keep track of and that will have some type of benefit for you.