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Home » Confidence Building, Decision Making, Featured, Goal Setting, Headline, Motivation, Problem Solving

5 Simple Secrets to Building a Habit that Lasts

Submitted by on October 5, 2011 – 12:27 amNo Comment

Research supports that it takes 3-4 weeks to develop a habit. That’s it! Give it a ‘try’.  The brain is miraculous when it comes to change. Try a new habit out for as a new adventure and see how you feel just for the fun of it. Make it into a ritual like other rituals you already have in your life.  If you tell yourself you want to try something for 3 or 4 weeks your brain won’t be so unwilling to co-operate.

Hey, you can always go back…if you want to.  😉

Some examples:

Try a new habit of not smoking or maybe as much

Try a new habit of eating less

Try a new habit of exercising

Try a new habit of talking to people more

Try a new habit of smiling more

Try a new habit of being a better listener

Try a new habit of being a good friend

Try a new habit of giving to yourself more

I’m sure you can think of a change you’d like to make.

“You must do the thing which you think you cannot do.”
Eleanor Roosevelt

 5 Simple Secrets to Building a Habit that Lasts

Author: Julie Gray

Whenever I decide to introduce a new habit into my life, the doubting voice inside my head shouts, “You think you are going to be able to keep that up? Forever?! Who do you think you are– Wonder Woman?”

This default response occurs whether I feel the itch to start a new yoga practice or attempt to get out of bed 30 minutes earlier. It pops up if I commit to shutting down my computer at 6:00pm or to taking a 5-minute break from work every couple of hours. This voice is just one of the many hurdles to breaking in new habits and can make it an even more challenging process to undertake.

Yet somehow I’ve managed to create massive changes in my life simply by committing to a few new habits. But it got me thinking…why does it work sometimes and not others? This is why I decided to take a hard look at the ways both my clients and I have successfully introduced new habits.

What came out of this analysis is really eye-opening. I’ve compiled the 5 Simple Secrets to Building a Habit that Lasts and I am really excited to share with you what I have discovered.

Here they are: 5 Secrets to Building a Habit that Lasts

1. Get clear on your why. This is a critical first step! What life goal or value is driving you to want to undertake this new habit? Is it long-term health and well-being? The chance to see your grandkids graduate from high school? The power to design a life of your choosing? Or how about the ability to provide for your family? Get to the heart of why this habit is essential to fulfilling the goals you are already committed to and watch your motivation soar.

2. Set your Golden Goal. With any new habit it is best to start with small, conscious steps that build incrementally over time. What is a first step toward building your habit that feels motivating and not stressful? This is your golden goal and it is essential to making steady progress without burning out (thanks to for the concept).

The most important thing is to commit to a goal that doesn’t feel stressful. If your ultimate habit is to run three miles every day, start with a 10-minute walk twice a week or one run just once a week. The key is to pick something that stretches you but is something you can easily commit to. By doing this you are maintaining integrity with your word each week, which builds a powerful momentum to stick to your goals moving forward.

3. Pre-load the decisions. Take a cue from highly-trained athletes and visualize exactly what your habit will look like inside of your day. When and where are you going to implement this habit? How will it work with your other routines? Who can help support this goal? Get into the details and make all of those decisions before you start.

4. Celebrate your wins. Science is proving that celebrating the small wins you achieve on the way toward your larger goal is critical to maintaining motivation and a desire to continue your journey. The key is to be kind to yourself. Take the time to appreciate your progress and reward yourself for the many steps you make along the way. This focus has the added bonus of quieting those nagging voices inside your mind!

5. Commit to the practice and not perfection. Get clear inside yourself that you are committing to practicing a habit– be it running, meditation, or leaving work before 6pm– rather than perfecting a habit. There is no end zone. There is no perfect goal to complete. Wake up every morning and recommit to incrementally improving your life. In a way it takes the pressure off. Chances are things will get hairy and chaotic and you may miss a few days, weeks or even months, but when that happens, all you have to do is pick up and start practicing again.

(Coming Tomorrow: 18 Tips to Make Habits Stick)

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About the Author

Julie Gray is a seasoned space organizer, coach, and productivity adviser for exhausted overachievers who are ready to stop the cycle without sacrificing success and find the time and energy to get more out life.

Julie’s unique expertise is in harmonizing your space, time, AND energy in order to optimize your productivity and drive faster, more impactful results. Her comprehensive system creates more time in your day, and is designed to evolve along with your ever-changing life.

Visit to get your FREE Time Valuation Calculator.

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