Developing Habits

It has been a while since I was here!

This year I endeavoured to start blogging frequently as a way of reconnecting with the lovely events within my life and also as sharing my psychological learning. But it’s almost February and this is my first post. Unsurprisingly, I am going to start with some research on developing habits!

As part of my new approach to habits, I have re-jigged my bullet journal (courtesy of my favourite bad habit: Kikki.K.) to include a section where I can record the habits I want to develop. Unsurprisingly, week one was a bust. Particularly for the things I don’t enjoy as much (I love walking, I hate marketing)! It has improved slightly, but I am still battling.

I remember reading a fab podcast a few years ago that talked about habits, and one fact that has stuck with me was the following. In 2010 Phillippa Lally, at University College London, found the following:

The average time to reach maximum automaticity [of a new habit] was 66 days, although this varied greatly between participants from 18 days to a predicted 254 days.

Extract from https://digest.bps.org.uk/2010/10/06/how-to-form-a-habit/

I often quote this to my clients and so am trying to be kind to myself, while also holding myself accountable. I’ll keep you updated.

In the meantime, here are some tips to keep you on track for your 2019 resolutions:

  • The better you are early on, the faster the new habit becomes automatic. Don’t stress if you miss one or two days, but be aware that there is a cumulative effect to missing days.
  • Don’t set yourself too many goals at once!
  • Intention is important! Why are you doing this? If you don’t have an intention, or the habit is not important to you, you will struggle to keep going.
  • If you keep failing, try a different time of day, or break your habit down more. Research shows specific and achievable habits are more easily developed.
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