4 Ways to Form a New Habit

Woman reflecting
Take baby steps when you form new habits.

We're all gearing up for the new year and the start of a new decade in 2020. I thought it would beneficial for my readers to start forming a new habit now in December because according to the experts, it takes 21 days to successfully form a new habit. We always hear about ways to shift our mindset or steps to do this and that, but rarely are the conversations centered on a needed growth in our lives such as forming new habits. Having good habits can help you live a long and joyous life if you do the following:

Focus on ONE new habit

Give yourself grace and focus on forming one new habit correctly, at a time. Trying to do too many things at one time will easily cause you to procrastinate or lose focus on one particular habit that you want to form. So for example, you may want to form new habits of eating healthier, exercising three days a week and budgeting your income better. ALL of these are great habits to have for anyone (including myself), but just focus on ONE of them to get you started. You can always form new habits later on.

Set a deadline to form your new habit

Just as you give yourself deadlines for your goals, so should you do the same when forming new habits. Don't just say or write in your journal, "I want to form a new habit of thinking positive no matter what." Add a specific date and time at the end of that sentence. This will push you to work on that goal to form a new habit specifically because you want to celebrate your accomplishment once that new habit is formed.

Thinking about forming a new habit.
Who could be your accountability partner?

Get an accountability partner

Forming new habits can be difficult and therefore, you may need to get an accountability partner to help you along the way. You need an accountability partner that can motivate you, give you tough love or advice if/when needed and someone who believes in you and what it is that you're trying to accomplish. Do not invite Debbie Downers or anyone who is toxic to you and expect them to want to see you win. This person needs to have pure intentions as you two partner together to help you form a new habit. For example, if you're forming a new habit to write a gratitude list daily in your journal, you're accountability partner can send you reminder texts or emails daily to help you stay on tasks.

Prepare yourself for setbacks

Nothing or no one under the sun, is exempt from facing setbacks. This especially happens when you're forming a new habit. Just as in life, you must prepare yourself for setbacks. Preparing yourself for setbacks while forming a new habit may simply mean, redirecting your thoughts when you become discouraged. In an article I read on developing good habits, the writer said, "When you know in advance what your obstacles are, you can take preventative action to overcome them." The writer also listed examples of common obstacles: time, pain, weather, space, costs and self-consciousness.

Forming a new habit usually takes a person around 21-30 days before the new habit stays with them. Don't rush yourself and definitely take baby steps when forming new habits. Make sure that you research your desired new habit so that you can take the proper steps to develop the new habit correctly. Times may get difficult and present obstacles, but don't ever give up on forming new habits that will make you a better person.