I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen this happen: a friend asks me about nutrition. I give them a whole bunch of information. They get really excited about turning their life around. Six days later, they’re back to their old habits again.
This has happened in my own life, too. There are so many habits I’ve failed to maintain, like practicing the guitar every day or writing regularly.
Old habits are hard to break, and new habits seem to be hard to make. So what are you supposed to do?
Here’s one thing you might try: make the first step of your new habit ridiculously easy.
For example, if you want to start flossing every day, start by flossing one tooth.
Seriously, just one.
But you do it every day for the next three weeks.
Now, it sounds stupid. Who flosses just one tooth? But it works.
Flossing one tooth is so easy, the thought of doing it creates very little resistance in your brain. And resistance is the big thing that you want to remove when you are creating a new healthy habit.
So you floss one tooth every day, and pretty soon you decide that you’ve already got the floss out, you might as well take another 45 seconds and floss all your teeth.
Now you’ve got a healthy habit that you didn’t have before. And it happened, without resistance, all by itself. All you had to do was take the first step and make that a ridiculously easy habit.
This blog post is a prime example. I used to dread writing blog posts because of the time it took to research them, write them, edit them, and add links and funny photos.
So here’s my own resistance-less new habit: I’m going to write about things that are interesting to me, without researching them (unless I want to), without pressuring myself to add links or funny photos. And when writing blogs regularly has become an ingrained habit, then I’ll worry about making the posts fancier with links and photos and editing.
So if you want to eat more vegetables, maybe start by eating a single baby carrot every day this week. Or if you want to exercise more often, start by doing one push-up every day.
What do you think? What ridiculously easy new habit are you going to form today?