How to Stay Committed to New Habits

TL;DR Maintaining new habits can be tough due to our brain’s preference for routines and fluctuating motivation. But it’s possible! Strategies like setting clear goals, consistent practice, seeking support, positive reinforcement, adaptability, finding enjoyment, visualizing success, and reflecting on purpose can help you stay committed to new habits.

Staying committed to new habits can be as equally tough as making new habits. How do you follow through as reality sets in? How do you maintain your commitment and excitement? For today’s blog, I answer these questions to help you sustain your efforts in achieving your goals.

Why is it SOOO challenging to stay committed to new habits you’ve picked up?

Maintaining new habits can feel like trying to keep a campfire going in the rain. You start fired up, but as the days pass, the spark dims. Ever notice how we often get thrilled about a new habit but then struggle to stick to it? That happens because our excitement tends to fade once the routine sets in. Life throws curveballs, making it tough to stay focused on those new changes. Plus, when results don’t pop up right away, you start doubting if it’s worth it.

Is it because we’re not motivated enough to maintain our habits?

The difficulty in maintaining habits doesn’t solely stem from a lack of motivation. It’s a complex interplay of various psychological and behavioral factors. Our brains are wired to seek efficiency and familiarity, favoring established routines. When we introduce new habits, it requires effort and disrupts the brain’s autopilot mode, leading to what psychologists term “cognitive dissonance.” This mental discomfort arises when our actions contradict our established beliefs or habits.

Moreover, motivation fluctuates over time. While enthusiasm might fuel us initially, it often wanes as we encounter obstacles or when the novelty of the habit fades.

You may also want to read: Why is it challenging to make new habits?

Is it possible to maintain the new habits that you’ve picked up?

Yes, it’s possible. Here are a few strategies that are backed by behavioral psychology and habit formation research. These strategies collectively address various aspects of habit formation, making them more likely to be effective in maintaining new habits over time:

Make Clear Goals (The clearer, the better)

Having specific and achievable objectives enhances motivation and provides a clear direction for habit-building efforts. If the aim is to exercise regularly, set a specific and achievable goal like running for 30 minutes, three times a week.

Consistent Practice

Repetition and regularity in performing the habit contribute to making it more automatic over time. For example, commit to exercising at the same time each day, such as jogging every morning or going to the gym after work.

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Make Sure You Have a Support System

Engaging with a support network, such as friends, family, or a community, can offer encouragement, guidance, and accountability. For example, join a fitness class or exercise group where members encourage each other and share progress.

Positive Reinforcement is an Essential Factor

Celebrating small victories and progress reinforces the habit loop and motivates further commitment. Reward yourself for achieving exercise milestones, like treating yourself to a movie after completing a month of consistent workouts.

Be Adaptable to Stay Committed to New Habits

Being adaptable and open to adjusting strategies or habits when faced with challenges ensures continuous progress without becoming discouraged. If an injury hinders running, for instance, switch to cycling or swimming to maintain the exercise routine.

Enjoy the Habits

Cultivating a genuine interest or enjoyment in the habit itself fosters long-term commitment and enjoyment. Let’s take going outside for a walk or working out as an example. Develop an enjoyment for the activity by finding pleasure in the fresh air or personal progress during workouts.

Picture Out Your Success

Envisioning the positive outcomes and benefits associated with maintaining the habit can serve as a strong motivator. If exercise is still your goal, picture yourself feeling healthier, stronger, and more energized after sticking to the exercise routine.

Reflect on Your Purpose

Regularly reminding oneself of the purpose and personal significance of the habit helps maintain enthusiasm and commitment. Remind yourself why you started – for better health, increased energy, or stress relief – to stay motivated to continue exercising regularly.

Do you accept the challenge to stay committed to new habits?

Maintaining new habits isn’t easy, but it’s achievable with the right strategies. Explore the behavioral psychology-backed approaches discussed to help you maintain and stay committed to new habits. For more insights or personal guidance, connect with me via New Patient or Contact to further discuss how these strategies can aid your journey to sustained habit change.

You can connect with me and ask any questions about my services by visiting New Patient or by reaching out to me directly through Contact.

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