Dawn Bradley

How to create habits that stick

It’s the same way I reached the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro…


One step at a time.

The best way to create a new and lasting habit is to follow a few simple rules, which are all

Tried and Tested
Backed by Science!

Now that you’ve chosen your goals for the year ahead, and written them down, it’s time to break the goals down into small, achievable steps.

What new habits can you create that will help you achieve your goals?

How to create habits that stick

We’ll use the example of losing excess body fat. Small steps could include:

Removing all of the unhealthy food from your cupboards – give it to a skinny friend!
Joining a weight loss group
Buying a healthy food cookbook
Writing out a healthy eating plan
Joining a gym
Buying new walking shoes
Signing up for dancing lessons
Signing up to run a Half Marathon
Writing out a weekly exercise plan
Downloading a yoga video from the internet
Asking a friend for their support
Stop snacking
Introduce Intermittent Fasting
Chew your food (!)
Sit while eating

Once you’ve chosen the steps you will take, you need to do them often enough for them to become a new habit. One that is done as automatically as brushing your teeth.

This is just a matter of repetition.

As well as having a plan of action, other things need to be factored in.

For example, at the time of setting your goal you’re fully motivated to carry it out, to the point that you can’t ever imagine NOT doing it!

However, after a couple of weeks, your motivation drops away. This is natural, but in order to create new habits that stick, you need to:

  1. Choose activities that you enjoy doing
  2. Join the new activity to an existing habit
  3. Ensure it takes little effort
  4. Prepare for failure
  5. Reward yourself

Let’s look at each point in turn with regards to increasing your current exercise level.

  1. Choosing activities that you enjoy doing.
    If you hate running or going to the gym, don’t choose those as your options!
    If you love dancing, consider joining a local dance class.
    Walking is one of the best exercises you can do, and it costs nothing.
  2. Joining it to an existing habit.
    Play your favourite music tracks and dance in the kitchen while you’re waiting for your tea to brew.
    Get up off the sofa and do squats during the ad breaks.
    Do your exercise routine as soon as you get in from work – regardless – just make it ‘The Rule’.
  3. Ensuring it takes little effort.
    Your motivation level will start high, but after a couple of weeks it’s normal for it to drop off.
    However, if you’ve been doing something that takes little effort, you’ll still be able to keep it going during times of low motivation, like when you come home late from work feeling exhausted.
  4. Preparing for failure!
    If at first you don’t succeed, start afresh the next day.
    It can take 4 or 5 times of ‘failing’ before we succeed.
    Failure isn’t the end of the road, it’s a lesson to learn from.
    Why did we ‘fail’?
    Was the step too large? Was it not enjoyable? What can you do to make it more achievable?
  5. Rewarding yourself.
    How can you reward yourself at each stage of accomplishment?
    Believe it or not, seeing a counter go up, or a glittery sticker on a chart are great ways to motivate adults as well as children!
    Create an Achievement Chart and place it somewhere you’ll see it every day. Mirrors, fridge and cupboard doors are the perfect place for these. Take time creating a one that will inspire you.
    Towards the end of the day, update your chart by marking the activities you carried out. If you forgot to do something this is also a great way to remind yourself so you can still fit it in before you go to bed.
    Place a gold star or a big green tick in the box – they’ll soon look great all in a row.
    If you know you’ve got to put a big red cross in the box for not doing something, that might motivate you to get it done. And as I’m suggesting you choose small and easy steps, this can be done in 5 minutes or less.

Now is a good time to create your plan.

Get creative.

Enjoy the process.

If you’d like my help with setting your goals, creating an achievable plan, or creating an Achievement Chart, then please do contact me to make an appointment for a Lifestyle Coaching Session, so we can get you on the road to success.

The best time to start is NOW! And remember that life should to be fun, or at least enjoyable!