Thoughts on Creating Sticky Habits
Initially, this talk was going to coincide more closely with New Year’s, but all the studies show no one keeps those resolutions anyway. So what’s stopping you from starting a new one today? Today I am going to talk about a loosely defined set of tools to hopefully help you with the formation (and retention) of new habits and routines.
Last year, I did several small personal challenges and worked on forming new habits to create more structure in my life. These challenges didn’t always have a clear expected outcome, but to me, it was exciting to challenge my own determination and self-control. But I did find that some of these did last. So I started to think about why.
While I was in school and spending all day on campus, food was often the last thing on my mind. A result of this was a very chaotic and ultimately expensive eating schedule. I would get lunches at Jimmy Johns or the food court. I would drink coffees from various coffee shops. I would pick up dinner from Chick-fil-A, Delia’s Chicken Sausage. The list goes on…
So once I graduated and started working full-time, I noticed my old habits didn’t die and I continued to eat out a majority of the time. And those daily lunches definitely added up. I mean you have all heard of the ‘Latte A Day’ savings plan. This was worse.
So at the beginning of last year, Mirely and I set a personal challenge out for ourselves. We were going to eat out once a week. Only once. No excuses. This meant I was going to have to bring my lunch to work every day.
I knew this wasn’t going to be as easy as just flipping a switch, so how was I going to make it successful?
So after that challenge (and a couple more small ones from last year), I looked back and found a few things that helped me stayed focused and build new habits and routines. And hopefully, these tools will be helpful to you guys as well.