Small Habits For Big Change

It’s that time of year when people make big promises to themselves about what they’re going to change in the new year. I think it’s time to break that habit (unless you’re one of the few for whom that works.) It’s time for a new way of doing things that will get you what you want.

Before I say more, though, I want to dispel a commonly-held belief that creating a new habit takes 21 repetitions of that action. We all bought into that. It makes creating new habits sound doable.

Depending on the person and circumstances, it can take anywhere from 18 to 274 days before a habit sticks. On average, creating a new habit takes 66 days (almost 7 weeks). But don’t lose heart. I’ve got a couple of tips for you that can help as you make plans for the coming year and beyond and set yourself up to win this time. And even if you’ve been successful with habits in the past, these tips may help you make the process faster and easier.

It also is essential to be very clear on what this new habit will do for you. Is better health and fitness what you’re after? Do you want to improve relationships in your life? Are you looking for more joy in your life? So before you even begin to decide on a new habit, know why you want it.


Now your tips:


  1. Make a Commitment: Not every habit is created equal; some take longer to embed in your mind than others. But one thing is true. The longer you perform the same activity day after day, the more success you will have in creating that habit. Decide you’ll give this new habit as long as it needs to become one.

  2. Keep Them Small: One of the reasons the process fails so often is because what you want to do is just too much all at once. The key to success is to make the habit a tiny bite-sized You want a habit that will be easy for you to do daily. There may be more steps to take, but they will happen more quickly, and one success will build on the other, moving you more securely to the habit (and result) you want.

  3. Use Your Network: One of the best ways to stay on track, especially when building habits, is to use your network. Have an accountability partner or use social media to keep you honest. Reporting to somebody forces you to follow through, and it’s a lot more fun when you’re not in it alone.
  4. Reward Yourself: Celebrate every little milestone with a reward that makes sense and will encourage you to keep going when you’re flagging. For many women, we tend to gloss over our wins and keep moving forward. Stop. Celebrate every day you integrate the habit. Have a special celebration at the end of the week for consistently taking action every day. Keep it light.

  5. Use What You’ve Got: Link the new habit to something already working for you. If you have a successful habit already in place, a small thing you can attach to that habit. For example, you might already be brushing your teeth every day. How hard would it be to add flossing to that routine?

  6. Plan For The Worst: Have a disaster plan in place. Things will go wrong (it’s called life), so plan for it and be ready when they do. Can’t jog today because it’s raining? That’s okay; you have an entirely different workout as a Plan B.

  7. One Habit At A Time: Change isn’t easy for most people. Don’t expect too much from yourself. Yes, you have ten habits you want to create. Look at them, choose one or two, and NO MORE than 3. Wanting to do too much is a surefire way to set yourself up for disappointment and frustration.

  8. Give Yourself Grace: The greatest gift you can give to yourself through this process is to give yourself grace. Allow yourself the same freedom you’d give a friend to make mistakes and fall a couple of times as you’re working to install a new habit.


Use these tips, and you’ll succeed when creating new (tiny) habits.

Over time, you’ll see some amazing growth for yourself.

That’s a pretty exciting bonus when you consider how little you had to do to get there.


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