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“If you’re trying to break a habit, don’t say ‘this is the last time I’m doing it’ to yourself. Instead, say ‘this is the first time I’m NOT doing it.”

-Unknown

Many of us have had to adjust to new ways of living, working, and existing during the recent pandemic. Now, people are slowly returning to work, and children are either back in school or poised to return this coming fall. With so many things in flux, we’ve had to adapt to and create new routines and habits.

Whether you’re adjusting to life changes OR trying to buck an old habit, I have a few different tips for doing so. Feel free to experiment and do what works best for YOU and your situation. And remember: developing a new habit takes time and patience. You’ve got this.

1. Enlist an Accountability Partner/Role Model

Telling one or more people about your goal is a powerful action for developing new habits. Not only can that person/people act as support, they can also apply a little bit of healthy peer pressure. If you cheat on a goal, what will your accountability partner/role model think??

You may also consider having regular check-ins with your accountability partner to keep you on track. Don’t forget to thank your partner in some way OR offer to return the favor if they are also seeking to develop a new habit.

2. Act Daily

It’s crucial to be consistent when developing a new habit. Make a commitment to act every day to help your new habit stick.

3. Keep a Calendar

Buy an old-fashioned paper calendar and make a mark on it (or apply a sticker!) every time you practice your new habit. A calendar is a great visual reminder of everything you’ve achieved and it can help keep your habit top-of-mind.

4. Be Kind to Yourself

You may not be a natural at keeping up your habit at first. Whether you’re attempting to quit smoking, going to the gym every morning, or committing to reading more books, the early stages of your habit might not come easily. Be gentle with yourself and understand that things WILL get easier as you go along.

5. Visualize

Visualization is a technique used by professional athletes and entrepreneurs alike. There are neurological reasons for visualizing your success. Your brain begins to recognize pathways to success and sees success as the norm. Take the time to envision yourself participating in your new habit and thriving.

6. Reward Yourself!

There’s nothing wrong with bribing yourself to achieve your goals! Set a few incremental milestones on your calendar (one successful week, month, six weeks) and reward yourself when you reach those milestones. You might treat yourself to a dessert, go out for a nice dinner, or take a mini vacation (an outing at a lake, perhaps, or an extended weekend trip). Do whatever you’d like, as long as the rewards match the achievements.

Creating a new habit can be difficult at first, but with time, commitment, patience, and faith in yourself, you can do just about anything. If you’re aspiring to a career-related habit and want to talk, I’m here. Best of luck with developing your new habit!

MARGARET SMITH IS A CAREER COACH, AUTHOR, INSIGHTS® DISCOVERY (AND DEEPER DISCOVERY) LICENSED PRACTITIONER, AND FOUNDER OF UXL. SHE HOSTS WORKSHOPS FOR PEOPLE WHO NEED CAREER OR PERSONAL GUIDANCE. 
CHECK OUT MARGARET’S ONLINE LEADERSHIP COURSE.

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