How To Effectively Maintain Positive Habits
Starting positive habits is an endeavor all successful people undertake at some point in their life. Historically, individuals recognize a desired habit, excitedly start the routine, and then fail to maintain it. Over a yearlong study, it was discovered 64% of people quit a new habit after one month and at the year milestone, 86% of people had failed to maintain their new positive habit! These percentages staggeringly show how the best plans can falter without proper implementation. Below we will discuss steps to avoid the pitfalls of implementing a new habit into your life and ensure that they remain in your daily routine.
The Important Questions
So, you have taken the first steps toward creating a new positive habit and then encounter the logical question: How do I maintain this new habit? Before investing our time heavily in a new routine, we need to ask ourselves:
- Is the habit truly positive?
- Have we been effectively tracking results of my new habit, and am I satisfied with the results at this point?
- Is the continuation of the new habit going to have a positive impact on my life going forward?
After asking yourself these questions you will have one conclusion to come to: do I continue or not? If the answer is no, then you have discovered the habit does not fit your goals. If the answer is yes, then you must figure out how to assure the new positive habit remains a part of your daily routine.
How To Maintain My New Habit
The most important step any person must take to confirm that a new habit persists is simple: keep exercising the new habit daily. There are several theories on the proper amount of days it takes to make a habit stick and become part of your daily routine. 21-days is the prevailing theory on habit establishment. The 21-day model came from Dr. Maxwell Maltz who observed that his patients after a 21-day period were able to adjust to the loss of a limb or major physical change. This model has been referenced by many leading self-help gurus through the years including Zig Ziglar, Tony Robbins, and Brian Tracy. Fast forward to today and the most current study, completed by Bupa/ComRes, point towards 66 days being the amount of time needed to establish a new habit as second nature. That is almost 3 times as long as the 21-day model!
So what does all this mean for you and your journey to establishing your new habits? It means they take time! 21 days is a great benchmark for reassessing how you have done on following your new habit and realigning to ensure your habit becomes a permanent one going forward. You will, after an initial 21-day period, notice that your new habit is starting to have a positive effect on your daily life.
A great example is usingThe Manager’s Journal for your daily project management needs. After using your journal for the initial three-week period, you should begin to notice that your prioritization skills have begun to take a more precise form. The challenge now is to continue to utilize this new tool to continue developing your habit by daily use. Spare a few minutes one morning while planning your day, flip back to your first journal page and glance at each sheet until the most current. You are going to find that how you write down objectives, track them, AND complete them will have started to develop a clear pattern.
Reassess how the new habit is working for you once a month after the initial 21-day period of implementation. Monthly review of habits ensures that the routine is helping you meet your desired goal. You are also able to use the monthly review to assess if there is something you could be doing differently to keep your new habit as productive as possible. If you find that the habit isn’t producing the result that you want, make sure that your end goal has not changed and that you are utilizing the habit properly.
One important thing to remember is that if you miss a day of implementing your new habit; pick it back up the next day. So many people will miss one day and take the mindset of “Well I missed a day of implementation, guess this habit wasn’t for me.” That line of thinking could not be further from the truth. One missed day/one day behind is a much better outcome than abandoning what could be a life-changing habit because at the moment it was easier to just write it off.
We are creatures of habit and those habits define who we are. One thing any successful project manager will tell you is that positive habits make for positive results and that the only way to achieve those results, is to start adding positive habits to your tool belt. Below are easy actionable steps that you can take to guarantee you stick to your new habit going forward.
- Assess where you are with developing your new habit and answer the questions we discussed earlier in the article.
- REMEMBER THAT HABITS ARE NOT FORMED OVERNIGHT!!! Keep pushing forward every day to achieve your new habit regardless of what roadblocks you encounter.
- Reassess your new habit each month after the initial 21-day period to assure you are still achieving what you set out to originally, or if your end goal has changed, that the new habit fits your newly adjusted goal.
Blessings In Your Endeavors,