Are your current habits in alignment with the life you want to create? More importantly, are your habits aligned with your goals and dreams? If you answered no to either or both questions, it might be time to build new habits!
Sometimes, we think we must make a drastic change or undergo a significant breakthrough in order to build new habits, but extraordinary life change comes from what we do daily and, importantly, how we do it.
As you build new habits, you are building a new you.
Building new habits requires an open and compassionate mindset. It requires intentionality. By undertaking powerful steps in your daily routine, you can successfully build new habits that enable you to obtain the life, goals and dreams you have always wanted to have.
In this article, we share our top four mindset techniques that will help you build new habits for transformational change.
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4 Powerful Mindset Techniques to Help You Build New Habits:
1. Focus on Your New Identity
When building new habits, the journey begins with the excitement and motivation of creating a new life or achieving an important goal, but we often hit the wall. The problem is not you; instead, it’s the reality that creating unique and lasting habits is challenging.
In the New York Times bestselling book Atomic Habits, James Clear talks about how your identity can shape your habits (and vice versa).
According to Clear, if you change the focus from the outcome, for example, “to run a marathon” to an identity-based habit “to become a runner,” you will have tremendous success in a long-lasting behavioral change.
Following the same example, to become a runner, act like one intentionally. Ask yourself: What would a runner eat? What would a runner wear? How would a runner hydrate? And then fully embody a runner’s identity. You can be a runner from day one; remember, every time you run, you are a runner.
The powerful thing about habits is that even if you focus only on going for a “short run” with consistency, after a short time, something crazy happens; you start seeing yourself differently, and you begin to see yourself as a runner.
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2. Start (Really) Small
According to Clear, motivation fluctuates from high to low on any given day; therefore, we can’t rely on it. His strategy guide says, “Solve this problem by picking a new habit that is easy enough that you don’t need the motivation to do it. Rather than starting with 50 pushups per day, start with five pushups per day.”
So, if you want to successfully build new habits, start very small and gradually increase; with time, the habit will become part of your identity and routine, and your new healthy behavior won’t be as challenging anymore.
“If your habits don’t line up with your dream, then you need to either change your habits or change your dream.” – John C. Maxwell
According to Psychologists from the Department of Behavioral Science and Health at University College London, the average time to ingrain a new habit is about 66 days, as long as you consistently continue your new healthy behavior.
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3. Cultivate a Mantra Mindset
Since we can’t entirely rely on motivation, I interviewed Pamela M. Nisevich Bede, a nutrition expert, author, and 26-time marathoner; I asked her how she stays motivated and shows up every day, even when she doesn’t feel like it.
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She said that on days when she needs a motivation boost, her mantra is, “There will be a day when you can’t do this. Today is not that day.” Hence, on those days, she promises to move for at least ten minutes, and when she can’t get motivated, she tries to be kind to herself and view it as a rest day.
We all have those days when we don’t have the energy, the weather doesn’t cooperate, or many other situations affect our lives, but I firmly believe it’s a mindset technique: how we handle adversity is entirely up to us. Building new habits requires both dedication and compassion.
We can allow excuses to take us away from our good habits, but ultimately, we have the power to choose. When you promise to show up for yourself for five minutes, to have personal integrity for what you are committed to, that is powerful!
Our bodies are always talking to us. If you genuinely listen to your mind and physical body, you will know if you need to take a rest day or if you can show up for yourself for at least five minutes. Use your intuition to craft supportive and loving mantras to build new habits.
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4. Stage Your Environment
Our environment is everything, it can be a great tool to help us succeed in building our new habits, or it can equally help us fail. In the same interview with Bede, I asked her how she maintains healthy traveling habits. Her mindset: “like any habit, you must remove obstacles and plan for success.”
Whether traveling, at home, or in your office, removing obstacles and planning for success is crucial to building new habits. As a runner, literally on the go, Bede always packs workout clothes and reserves hotels near running paths or opts for ones with gyms. She also picks up health and wellness items at local stores to stay fueled.
Here are a few other environment strategies to build new habits:
- If you are trying to eat healthier, start by eliminating unhealthy temptations and, instead,
place healthy food options within effortless reach
- If you are trying to exercise every day, lay out your fitness clothes the night before, and
place them where you can see them as soon as you wake up
- If you are trying to write a book, declutter your workspace and leave it
ready for you to sit and start writing
Build New Habits – And a New You – With These Powerful Mindset Techniques
Every day is an opportunity to start fresh. It’s a mindset. Believe in yourself; believe that you can do this.
First, ask yourself, are my current habits in alignment with the life I want to create?
Second, are my habits aligned with my goals and dreams?
Then start with figuring out what you want your identity to look like and who you want to
become. Next, set small goals you can consistently achieve and choose the mantra you want to employ on rainy days or when life gets tough. Lastly, make sure you stage your environment for success.
As you build new habits, you are building a new you. So, as your journey progresses and you apply these mindset techniques, your identity will change, and you, my friend, will see yourself differently, having aligned your habits with your life’s aims.
Remember, as the famous Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu once said, “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.”
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