Like lighting a fire, if you can just get habits started they carry on, but they can easily die before they get established.
Here are six ideas that might help you with things like:
- Putting time aside for things you enjoy
- Working on a side hustle
- Keeping in touch with friends and relatives
1. Put it in your diary as a repeating item, every day or every week, or maybe every 4th or 9th or 27th day, so it pops up at random to remind you. This also allows you to check that there is enough time for you to do all the things you want to in your life,
2. Do it with a friend or partner—that person who knocks on your door ready to go running, or who you meet at the gym. Setting up a reading hour with your partner where you sit on the sofa each evening and read, or a gratitude session with your partner at the end of each day where you reflect back on three things each that were good about today,
3. Make it easy by leaving it out so it’s visible—the book on the sofa, the running shoes by the front door, the online learning shortcut on your desktop, the gratitude diary on your pillow that you’ll see before you go to bed,
4. Keep a log—like those Fitbit fitness trackers where you’re on a 45 day streak and you’ve done 9800 steps and you just HAVE to do another 200 before bed to get your daily number and keep the streak going. Just a calendar in the kitchen where you tick off the days when you went for a run, or a gratitude diary where you HAVE to write something each day or it looks bad.
5. Link to other habits. Someone recently told me that they put their meds with dog’s meds because they ALWAYS feed the dog and give him his pills, so it’s a reminder you never miss. The idea is that to extend an existing habit is much easier than starting a new one. Maybe jog to the corner shop rather than walking, so you get exercise included in your shopping trip.
6. Start small. Sometimes a habit can be killed off by being too ambitious. So start a habit where you read for 5 minutes a day, or write a few lines in your journal (longer if you want, but no pressure, just always something), or you go for a run just to the end of the road, longer if you feel like it, but always to the end of the road. Only extend the amount once the habit is really well established.