There’s conventional wisdom floating around out there about how to stop bad habits or introduce better ones. Estimates about how long it takes to build a habit are spoken about as though they’re the last word on the subject. A common recommendation for stopping bad habits is to put a rubber band on your wrist and snap it every time you feel temptation. But what really works, and how can you make lasting changes?
Get Money Involved
It’s a cliché that every January, gym memberships boom, but most of those people end up paying every month for a service that they don’t use. All the same, there can be some motivation in putting your cash toward healthier habits. Some of these come in the form of apps or websites where you pledge a certain amount of money if you fail in keeping up with your new regimen. A personal trainer may cost more than a gym membership, but they can also keep you more accountable.
If there’s an activity that you really want to get into and shelling out the cash to get started is the only thing stopping you, it may be time to take the leap. If you’re short on cash for any of these options, one way to get more without racking up credit card debt is taking out a personal loan. These are generally lower interest options that offer favorable repayment terms.
Spending money works for some, but what if it doesn’t work for you or you really can’t spare the cash right now? One problem with almost all advice that you read online is that it tends to be very one-size-fits-all. While broad generalizations can be made about how people behave, in the end, it’s all about figuring out what motivates you personally. Think hard about whether rewarding yourself, being accountable to someone, carefully tracking progress, all of these or something else makes you more likely to stick to something.
One reason it can be hard to change a habit is because you’ve probably fallen into a comfortable groove and making a change can mean some upheaval. It’s hard to eat healthy when you’re busy and it’s easy to just grab some fast food. Therefore, you need to consider what is preventing you from making better choices and work to make those choices easier. If you want to eat different food, make sure that you have several choices easily accessible that require minimal preparation. When cultivating the habit of running for your health, some sleep in their running clothes so that it’s easier to roll out of bed and hit the road.
Figure Out the Why
Sometimes, efforts to change fail because deep down, you don’t really know why you’re doing them or you’re doing them for someone else and not you. This can be separate from the things that motivate you, which don’t have to be profound. You want to show everyone who said you couldn’t that you can may be petty, but it makes for great motivation. However, over the long run, you need a bedrock of real belief that this is the best thing for you in order to succeed.