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3 Steps to Make Your New Habits Stick this Year

Whether we like it or not, this time of year cues our minds to reflect and think about habits we want to change.  If you’re reading this blog,alive possibel odds are one of those habits are bringing mindfulness into your life more and allowing this to be the year where it sticks. Or maybe you’re also looking to change other habits that run alongside your values like being more self-compassion, living alongside your values, playing more or creating more mastery in life. All of these are basic elements that help uncover happiness.

Whatever the habit is that you want to make, here are a few practical tips to help make your changes stick.

  1. Know the practice – If you’re trying to integrate the ability to become more present in your daily life, choose what you want to practice. You may want to integrate more formal practice that would come in the form of a sitting meditation or mindful yoga. Or maybe you want to integrate more informal moments of just being present to whatever you are doing. Or maybe both. Or perhaps it’s exercise, better sleep, or being a more present friend. Having an awareness of what you want to do is the first step.
  2. Set up reminders – As much as we’d like to think, “I got it all up here, I can remember,” it’s important to understand that your brain works off cues. The way our environments are set up cue our brain to make certain decisions. There’s no fault in setting our environments up to support us in making the changes we want to make. For example, Mindfully Me is an app that will mind you to have more mindful moments. The Basics in Mindfulness Meditation 28 Day Program sends you an email daily for 28 days that cues you to integrate particular practices to make mindfulness stick. There are many other programs that do this for exercise, sleep and even to keep you on whatever task you like. Or go old school and just put up sticky notes in your area or as an optimal cue, get a real person to do the practice alongside to motivate one another.
  3. Support network – Many of us have the rule in our heads that “I can do it on my own.” The fact is, you are more likely to actually integrate a new practice if you have others alongside you who are trying to do the same thing. Finding a group of people in your area or on the web that you can connect with is very important to sustaining this practice. You can connect through the challenges, learn from others, and feel part of a community. The community also serves as reminder that this is important in your life. Check out Meetup.com to find a local group who is doing exactly what you’re interested in. If there isn’t a local community, an online group is a good runner up.

Try these three things out with whatever you are trying to change. Really build them into your routine and have compassion for yourself as making changes is often a difficult challenge that is entirely attainable.

If you do stray practice “forgive and invite,” forgive yourself for the time gone by, learn from your obstacles and invite yourself in that present moment to begin again.

As always, please share your thoughts, stories, and questions below. Your interactions provide a living wisdom for us all to benefit from.

3 Steps to Make Your New Habits Stick this Year


Elisha Goldstein, Ph.D.

Elisha Goldstein, Ph.D. is creator of the six month online program A Course in Mindful Living, author of the book Uncovering Happiness: Overcoming Depression with Mindfulness and Self-Compassion, The Now Effect, co-author of A Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Workbook, Foreword by Jon Kabat-Zinn, author of Mindfulness Meditations for the Anxious Traveler: Quick Exercises to Calm Your Mind, the premier eCourse Basics of Mindfulness Meditation: A 28 Day Program, the Mindful Solutions audio series, and the Mindfulness at Work™ program currently being adopted in multiple multinational corporations. Join The Now Effect Community for free Daily Now Moments and a Weekly Newsletter. Dr. Goldstein is a clinical psychologist in private practice in West Los Angeles.


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APA Reference
Goldstein, E. (2014). 3 Steps to Make Your New Habits Stick this Year. Psych Central. Retrieved on November 13, 2019, from https://blogs.psychcentral.com/mindfulness/2014/12/3-steps-to-make-your-new-habits-stick-this-year/

 

Last updated: 31 Dec 2014
Statement of review: Psych Central does not review the content that appears in our blog network (blogs.psychcentral.com) prior to publication. All opinions expressed herein are exclusively those of the author alone, and do not reflect the views of the editorial staff or management of Psych Central. Published on PsychCentral.com. All rights reserved.