Resolutions are made on every special occasion or moment in our lives, but how many can be really implemented? It turns out that it is scientifically proven that changing behavior is challenging. The good news is setbacks and lapses are needed to create a new habit, but we have to make sure to manage them well. Learning to treat these setbacks with reflection, compassion, and problem-solving will help you into a new habit.
Based on the Transtheoretical or Stages of Change Model, there are six stages of change. Pre-contemplation, Contemplation, Preparation, Action, Maintenance, and Relapse. Find out more here in this article.
Now, routine is different from habits. A habit is a behavior done with little thought or even can be done in autopilot mode, whereas a routine is a behavior that is frequently and intentionally repeated. To create a habit, you must make a behavior a routine first.
Although there is a widespread belief in the 21/90 theory, which explains that you need 21 days to create a habit and 90 days to make it your lifestyle, there is no definite timeline for everyone.
But there are specific steps that you can try to foster a habit:
1. Set a specific goal
Make your objective specific and realistic. For example, rather than just reading more books, set your goal to finish one book this month.
2. Create a detailed plan.
After knowing your goal, you can make a detailed plan at a specific time. For example, read a book for 15 minutes after an evening shower.
3. Prepare for roadblocks
Doing repeated routines won’t be fun at first. We need to prepare for things that may get in our way. For example, finish all your work before going home so you won’t be distracted.
4. Be flexible and kind to yourself.
When things become boring and you lose motivation, emergency reserves might help. This is a limited number of you can miss your routine in a month. You can also adjust your plan when necessary. For example, read a book for 15 minutes in the morning before work. Also, don’t be too hard on yourself when you fail. Remember, setbacks are normal.
5. Find social support.
People around us will influence our behavior. If your surroundings do not support you, you may find a friend, club, or organization that shares the same interest.