When does a resolution become more than a resolution? When it becomes a habit.
Habits are notoriously hard to break. So if you want to create lasting positive change in your life, you’ll need to build it into your routine.
How long does it take to build a habit?
According to the common myth regularly spouted on the Internet, it takes 21 days to build a habit. In reality, the more accurate (but less click-worthy) answer is: it depends.
One study looked at how long it took for a behaviour to become ‘automatic’, and found results ranging from 18 to 254 days, with a median of 66 days.
So when it comes to building a habit, there’s no magic number that’ll get you there. But there are lots of evidence-based tips and tricks to help you get there a little faster. (Spoiler: most of them involve hard work, consistency and routine. Sorry folks).
How to build a habit
Big goals can often feel too abstract or overwhelming to actually action. Small, realistic goals are much more achievable, and will add up to big change in the long run.
Make a plan
After you’ve set a goal, formulate the concrete steps that will help you get there. Divide it into small, realistic steps, and schedule time in your week that you can devote to them. Try to anticipate things that might get in your way, and think about how you can overcome these obstacles.
When it comes to behaviour change, consistency is key. Each time you do a behaviour, you’ll strengthen the part of your brain associated with it. The more you do it, the more likely it is to become automatic.
Attach it to an existing habit
We’re much more likely to remember to do something when it’s already in our routine.
Want to add a five-minute meditation to your morning routine? Do it after brushing your teeth or while drinking your morning coffee.
Track your progress
Measuring your progress is a great way to stay motivated, keep track of how you’re doing and celebrate the wins along the way.
According to James Clear’s ‘Three R’s of Habit Change’, to build a habit we need reminders to do a certain behaviour. This could be as simple as setting a reminder on your phone.
Another of the ‘Three R’s’ is reward. Rewarding yourself for completing a behaviour will incentivise you to keep going, and create a positive association with the behaviour in your mind.
Make yourself accountable
We’re much more likely to commit to something when we're held accountable. Tell your friends and family what you're trying to achieve and ask them to check in on your progress.
Aim for progress not perfection
Don’t give up if you lapse occasionally. Every setback is a learning opportunity, so don’t let slip-ups discourage you from persisting with your goal.
Building a mindful habit with MindLabs
MindLabs was designed with behaviour change in mind. We know how hard it can be to actually stick to your goals, so we built features into our app to help you create a mindful habit:
Reminders: Reminder is one of the three ‘R’s of habit change. On the MindLabs app you can set daily reminders to take a mind class at a time that suits you.
Live class schedule: Our live classes take place 2-3 times a week, at the same times each day. Schedule your favourite classes into your week and sync them with your calendar.
Mindful Minutes: Mindful Minutes are designed to help you track your progress, work towards a target and celebrate your wins: all key components of behaviour change.