Creating new, better habits is a challenge on its own, no matter how motivated you are. Check out these four common stages of habit building to identify where you are in the change process — and push yourself through to the next step.
Image from Lance Goyke.
Making a plan breaks down a habit into steps that are easier to tackle and focuses your attention on each stage. Figure out which stage you're in now and then move forward from there.
- Pre-Contemplation: If you haven't decided on a change to make but you know you want to do something, this is the stage you're in. Think about a habit you might want to start or pick up again, or even just areas of your life to improve.
- Contemplation: Gather your motivation "mantra" by thinking about why you want to change and condensing that down to a phrase or sentence that you can remind yourself of in difficult moments. You can also use this stage to decide on a reward for yourself when your new habit is established.
- Preparation: Put together a plan to make starting your new habit easier. Outline each larger step so you see a clear path from how to get from where you are now to where you want to be. Also figure out what you'll do if you encounter roadblocks or are feeling demotivated.
- Action: Launch your action plan. Kick off your new habit and put the energy you've spent strategising to good use.
Taking the time to go through each dedicated stage won't work for everyone, some people can just jump into action without so much strategising, but if you've had a hard time making changes before, try this approach.
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