Adopt gradual change
However there is a much more effective way of approaching your lifestyle change – doing it more gradually. Incorporate new habits a few at a time and attach them to your existing ones.
Say, for example, you want to drink more water. Why not start your day by drinking one big glass first thing. You could attach this to your (hopefully) existing habit of brushing your teeth. And make this easy to remember by having a glass ready next to your toothbrush so you won’t forget.
Create new habits
The way habits work is that they need to be repeated for long enough to create a new neural pathway. That’s how it becomes an automatic reaction. Research by the University College of London has shown that on average it takes about 66 days for you to create a new habit. In other words, if you repeat a certain action often enough you won’t have to think about it anymore as it has become an automatic response.
For example, if you would like to go for a run three times a week for 30 minutes. You could start by building the habit by going on set days like every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. The moment your schedule gets messed up because your meeting goes on for longer than expected and you only have 25 minutes left (and still need to change), don’t cancel or say “I’ll try again tomorrow”. Instead, it would be much better to stick to your plan and go anyway – even if it is just for 15 or 20 minutes. It is much more important you create and stick to that habit, instead of doing it perfectly.