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How to keep new habits

Have you ever made changes to your lifestyle and then stopped? Drifted back into old habits? Without really knowing what happened?

In that case, you are not alone.

Habits are good, they make our daily lives easier. They mean we don't have to think every moment about what we're doing. But it takes a while for new habits to take hold. The time depends on what habits and who you are. Anywhere from a few weeks to several months. When a new habit takes hold, it is automatic, and you don't have to think about what you are doing, when the easiest option is to choose the new habit. Like brushing your teeth, it's something you just do.

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So the most common reason why we quit a good change is because the change hasn't taken hold and become a habit.

Another common reason why we don't continue with habits is because we make too many changes at once. Some people can do it, if they're focused enough. But for most, it's a bad strategy.

So then we come to the heart of the matter. What to do to continue the change, so that it becomes a habit? A habit you don't have to think about, that happens automatically.

The first step is to choose the change you want to make first. Then it's time to start making it. Don't wait for a better time (because it never comes). Start right away.

Until the habit takes hold, we need to actively make the decision to do what we set out to do. So this is where we need to put our energy. How do we do it? It's a matter of reminding yourself what you want to do and why, every day. And just doing it. Let go of all the excuses. Either you do or you don't. Even if you don't feel like doing the new habit, just do it anyway. Surprise yourself. If you lose focus, you'll fall back. This part doesn't happen automatically, but it's well worth the effort and energy. You'll thank yourself.

It also helps to see yourself succeed. To really be determined that things will work out. And how it will feel then. Really feeling what you want to achieve with the new habit. Being confident that it will work. To fulfill the promise to yourself. Respecting yourself and wanting the best for yourself.

You're only making the change for your own sake, to make yourself better.

As Tony Robbins pithily puts it "Either you feel pain from discipline or pain from regret".

What do you choose?

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