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Creating Habits That Stick - 5 Tips for Strengthening & Sticking to New Habits

How many times have you started a new year (or a new week) full of drive and dedication for kicking your goals, only to get to March (or the following Monday) not kicking a thing and feeling as though you’ve fallen off the wagon?  This exact mentality of start, stop and try again is actually 100% okay. Honestly. When it comes to behavioural change, two steps forward and five steps back is a completely normal part of the process. 


While the initial burst of inspiration to change something comes easily, sustaining change can be a challenge. It’s easy to do something once and repeat it a few times, but maintaining a new behaviour and being consistent is what’s needed to make a habit stick. 


So, if you’re ready to really make things stick (and to move forwards more than you move backwards) read on. This blog explores the process of change, and includes my top five tips for getting back on track to strengthen new habits and help you achieve your goals.

How to make new habits stick


"A goal without a plan is just a wish"

- Antoine de Saint-Exupéry


One of the most important things to keep in mind when you’re starting something new is to stick to one thing at a time. When we try to change too much at once, the brain and body resist and we end up defaulting to old, hardwired habits. Let's dive into my top five tips for strengthening new habits and achieving your goals...


FIVE TIPS FOR STRENGTHENING & STICKING TO NEW HABITS


1. WRITE A FRICTION LIST

To successfully implement a change, we need to understand what’s getting in the way of success. What stands between you and the habit you’re trying to create? 


For example, let's say you're trying to incorporate daily exercise into your routine, but you find yourself pressed for time in the mornings. Your friction list might include:


  • Waking up late due to inconsistent sleep patterns

  • Feeling too tired or unmotivated to exercise

  • Not having a clear plan or designated workout space


By identifying these friction points, you can develop strategies to move through them. For instance, setting a consistent sleep schedule, finding activities that energise you, or prepping your workout gear the night before can help reduce barriers to success and make it easier to stick to your new habit.


2. BREAK IT DOWN

What steps are involved to reach your goal? Who will you need to become to achieve your goal?


Suppose your goal is to enhance your overall wellbeing as a busy business owner. Breaking it down might involve steps such as:


  • Establishing a consistent self-care routine, including exercise, meditation, and adequate sleep

  • Setting boundaries to protect your time and energy, both at work and in your personal life

  • Investing in ongoing personal development and learning opportunities, such as workshops or coaching sessions focused on stress management and resilience

  • Cultivating a supportive network of peers, mentors, or wellness professionals who can provide guidance and encouragement on your journey.


Habits are the tiny, daily actions that move us closer to our goals.


3. MAKE IT FUN

When it comes to achieving your goals, finding joy in the journey can be just as important as reaching the destination. When it comes to staying motivated, injecting fun into your goals can make all the difference. 


To do this, we can draw on process vs outcome goals. Imagine you're training for a marathon. Your outcome goal is to cross the finish line with flying colours, but the process to get there can sometimes feel daunting. That's where making it fun comes in!


Instead of solely focusing on the end result, you decide to set process goals that add excitement to your training routine. You challenge yourself to run in different scenic locations each week, exploring new trails and city routes. You join a local running group, turning your long training runs into social outings; or you could choose brightly coloured workout clothes that you look forward to wearing.


AND sprinkle in rewards along the way. For every milestone you hit – whether it's completing a challenging hill workout or increasing your mileage – you treat yourself to something special. It could be a relaxing massage, a delicious post-run brunch with friends, or even a new pair of running shoes in your favourite colour.


By focusing on the journey and finding joy in the process, you stay motivated and energised throughout your training.


4. KNOW YOUR WHY

Perhaps the most important part of the change process is to know your why. Why are you doing this in the first place? What significance does this new habit have in your life? 

Knowing your bigger why will help to hold your motivation and keep you working towards change, even on those tired and challenging days.


For example, perhaps you recognise the importance of prioritising your wellbeing to sustain long-term success in your business. Maybe you've experienced the negative effects of neglecting self-care in the past and you’re determined to make a positive change for your health and happiness. It could be that you aspire to be a role model for others in your industry, demonstrating the value of self-nurturing practices in achieving holistic success.


Ask yourself, what significance does this new habit have in your life?

Ultimately, the significance of any new habit lies in its power to align your actions with your values, fostering congruence and authenticity in how you show up in the world.


5. BEGIN AGAIN

Stay humble and accept that failure is a necessary part of change. Be willing to pick yourself back up and carry on, with new information and new insights, and a new resolve to succeed. Write your “why” somewhere visible like the fridge or bathroom mirror to help motivate you to try again. 


Having a solid plan in place is crucial to habit formation.


Change Plan Template Download


Next Steps...

How can we support you on the journey of change?


We help everyday people achieve big things. By combining strategy with support, we help people feel better and do better, not only at work but in every area of their lives. 


Within our Group Coaching program, we offer a space for small business employees to set goals, track progress, and receive support from both our facilitators and their peers. This accountability fosters commitment and consistency in implementing positive changes.


Follow the link below to find out more about our group coaching program.



Take care,

Alexis


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Image by Jeremy Bishop
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BLOG AUTHOR

Alexis Postans

WELLBEING CONSULTANT

Alexis Postans is a highly experienced therapist, yoga and meditation teacher, and the founder of Total Life Wellbeing. 

 

She is currently undertaking her third degree in Psychology and has worked in a variety of settings including mental health policy, drug and alcohol rehabilitation, youth residential care, child protection, youth justice, adventure therapy and delivering wellbeing programs in schools.

 

Alexis is a skilled and experienced group facilitator and is passionate about improving the wellbeing of individuals, workplaces and society.

 

Aside from study and business, she can be found playing with her two young kids or enjoying a glorious WA sunset over the beach!

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