How to Create New Habits That Stick

Launching an effort to adopt a new healthy habit is exciting, but the shine can wear off as the weeks and months roll by. Fortunately, there are powerful practical tactics you can use right now to boost your chances of staying on track, help you bounce back from setbacks and turn your new habit into an established routine. Create a solid foundation for lasting success with these tips and techniques.

Do the Prep Work: Start with the right reason: Make sure you’re adopting the habit for yourself, because you want to and not because someone else is pressuring you. Focusing on the positive aspects of how your new habit will make you feel and build reinforcement into the process.

Be specific about your target behaviour: Using the SMART GOALS (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, time-Bound) format can help. Write three-month goals (where you want to be with your habit) and weekly behavioural goals (what you need to do to get there).

Assemble your squad: Invite one or more trusted friends or family to encourage you as you work on your new habit.

Get Curious: If you happen to miss a day, try to be kind and nonjudgmental with this approach: “I wonder why that happened. What could I do differently next time?” Everyone stumbles; shake it off and learn from it.

Keep things fresh and interesting: Regularly infuse your habit with new elements, such as trying new workout formats, equipment or locations, experimenting with new recipes or cooking techniques, practicing new breathing techniques, and much more.

Make it social: Combine your habit with friendly fun, try integrating healthy habits with your social life to make them easier to maintain and more enjoyable.

Lastly, be patient with yourself throughout the process of building a new habit and turning it into a routine.