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How to Form Habits that You’ll Keep for Life

As the new year approaches, many of us begin thinking about the resolutions, goals, or intentions we want to set for 2018. And I don’t know about you, but I used to be hesitant about setting resolutions, because, midway through the year, my motivation would drop and I’d start slipping away from the behaviors I had so eagerly envisioned in January.

Commitment is hard, people, especially when it comes to life-changing habits and behaviors, like eating a vegan diet or consistently exercising. Whatever you repeatedly do forms the person you become, the things you believe, and the personality you portray. So if you want to improve, or form new habits, how should you go about it? 

Over the years, I’ve learned a few tips and tricks for creating habits that endure past the last snowfall.

The 3 R’s to Forming New Habits:

Reminder– this is the trigger that initiates the behavior you’re trying to enact. Several weeks into your commitment, it can be easy to start slipping back into your old ways. Set a reminder to execute your habit every day. It doesn’t matter whether this is a phone alert, a physical cue, or something else – what matters is that you see or hear a reminder that prompts you to take action.
Routine– this is the behavior itself, or the action you take. Commit to 30 days of whatever habit you’re trying to form, whether it’s eating vegan, flossing your teeth, or practicing yoga. Three to four weeks is all the time you need to make a habit automatic, and a month is a good amount of time to commit to, since it easily fits in your calendar!
Reward– this is the benefit you gain from doing the behavior. If you’re committing yourself to creating a new habit, it most likely is because you want to improve on some aspect of your life. Therefore, there are usually innate benefits to forming the habit, such as a healthier immune system, stronger teeth, or a more toned body. But it doesn’t hurt to personally reward yourself, as well! It’s important to celebrate because we like continuing actions that make us feel good. Whether you quietly tell yourself “Good job. You made progress today!” or physically reward yourself with some form of treat, what matters is acknowledging your progress.

A Few Other Helpful Tips:

Find a Buddy: Find a friend who will join you in the pursuit of this new habit. There’s nothing like an accountability partner to keep you motivated if you feel like quitting.

Be Imperfect: You can’t expect your attempt to change huge lifestyle behaviors to be successful immediately. You might fall astray during your 30 day commitment, or it might even take longer to fully form. No worries, friends! Just expect a few bumps along the way.

Be Consistent in Your Timing: For habits like exercising and yoga (or flossing!), being consistent in the time you choose to practice is key. During your 30 day challenge, commit yourself to practicing your new habit at the same time each day, whether that’s morning, evening, or right after work. 

Ready to Give this Habit Thing a Try?

At Yoga Fever, we’re ready to practice what we preach. This coming January, we’re hosting a 30-day yoga challenge – and those who successfully complete it will get their name entered into a drawing to win one year of unlimited yoga! The rules are simple: starting January 2nd, you must practice at Yoga Fever 26 out of 30 days, with those four rest days designed to allow the body time to heal. To encourage you all to give this habit-forming thing a try, we’re even offering a one-month, unlimited package for only $69. (promocode 69 upon check out of one month of unlimited yoga)

The heart of this 30-day challenge is commitment. Make a promise to yourself to practice each day and follow through on it. Grit, habits, excellence; whatever you call it, positive, consistent behavior only occurs through repetitive practice. The woman next to you in yoga class doing a headstand wasn’t born being able to do that, it took her months to develop the strength to perform that pose. Habits are powerful, unconscious patterns of behavior that play a role in influencing the direction of our life. Essentially, our lives go where our habits take us!

 

Good luck!