How to Build A New Habit (when consistency is so hard)

how to build a new habit

 

Habits and routines are the building blocks of life. Our lifestyle is all the habits we do each day. What if you thought of your new habit as just one new daily lifestyle change that you do over and over? Here are 7 strategies to build your new habit and successfully keep these habits going, especially if you are challenged with ADHD.

 

Know your Why

Before you even thought of the new habit, you already knew your “why” to make it a habit. It came from a place of frustration and at the same time empowerment. Having that “why” in front of you every day will help you see the change that you want. Your why can be any powerful statement. Make it visual so that every day you see your motivation.

 

Hold your Focus

Changing only one habit at a time creates success. Too many changes, just like too many decisions, keeps you from being aware of your new habit. Make that one new habit the one and only, most interesting, and more valuable change you are making. Keep to one change to your lifestyle to make that change stick.

 

Be specific

Make your habit as specific as possible to avoid decision making. That habit is a defined action. Instead of a habit of getting a better night’s sleep, make your habit getting in bed at 11 pm or placing your technology devices in their chargers at 10 pm. Decide on these actions before putting your habit into place. By processing the steps and the anchor to your new habit, you eliminate decisions at the time.

 

Use Micro-steps

According to Thrive Global, we undermine new habits by not starting small enough. Micro-steps, small, incremental, science-backed actions can have both immediate and long-lasting benefits to the way we live our lives. a micro-step is the smallest action you would take to accomplish a goal. If you want to eat healthier and lose weight, add in one vegetable at each meal. It could be carrot sticks that are pre-cut from your grocery store. That small action is going to make a big difference over time.

 

Make it easy

Whenever there is an obstacle or an extra step, your new habit is blocked. Make your new habit easy by thinking through the obstacles. Then add in what makes it easy to accomplish. If losing weight is your goal, a new habit of walking more would help you reach your goal. If you keep your sneakers in your car, you are likely to take a walk right after work. If you have to go home to change, you might not take a walk.

 

Keep track

Since habits are a series of single actions, tracking keeps you moving forward. Rather than break the chain of success, you are motivated to keep going forward. Gather data as you track. There are many apps for this. Just like our smart watches and 10k steps, we want to know our daily success.

 

Keep it realistic

Keep your perfectionism in check and keep your new habit in sight. Use the first days of your new habit to learn more about your and your habit. What worked and what didn’t? What does success look like this week and next?

 

Changing and sticking with a habit can be done with ADHD friendly strategies that work with how you think and how you get things done. Remember that new habits are a work in progress. If something does not go as you planned, start again with a new actionable behavior.

3 replies
  1. Seana Turner
    Seana Turner says:

    I think sometimes we can have such a desire to change that we take on too many new goals at once. I love your point about focusing on one, very specific habit at a time. It’s so true, because if we honestly establish one new, consistent habit, that has so much more impact that a bunch of habits that we never truly embrace.

  2. Seana Turner
    Seana Turner says:

    Such a good point to avoid trying to form a bunch of new habits all at once. Keep your focus. Master one, really master it, and then try working on another one. Bouncing around trying to do too many things at once often leads to failure. Habits are wonderfully powerful tools, so well worth the effort!

  3. Ellen
    Ellen says:

    @Seana – that is so true! We have a lot of initial energy to change and the focus on one specific habit makes success happen!

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