In this episode we will be having a chat with NGF’s very own mindset coach and all round amazing human Zay Canters
They shared some simple ways that you can begin new habits (regardless of what they are) without pressure by starting small.
When it comes to starting new habits, it can be really easy to get caught up in that final end goal. With that goal being that we are practicing that new habit consistently.
The challenge that comes with trying to jump straight into a new habit and practice it consistently is that often, we aren’t quite ready to dive straight in to practicing the new thing.
There is nothing wrong with this at all. Starting a new habit like anything takes time and practice. Being able to step straight in to practicing something new in our lives almost never happens easily.
This is why, when it comes to beginning anything new, Zay shared with us that starting small is really important.
Let’s take the habit of walking as an example. Then we’ll break it down so that you can use this formula for any habit.
Don’t jump straight into going for a walk. Instead begin by planning a time to take the first step towards going for a walk.
Then put aside the clothes and shoes you may want to walk in.
That’s it. It’s not time to go for a walk yet, just get ready by putting on your walking clothes and walking shoes and give yourself a high five. This is an easy and achievable first step that will build up to taking that walk.
Once you can consistently get ready for your walk at your chosen time for at least two weeks, then you’re ready for the next step. Which is not a walk yet.
Next step is to get ready for your walk by putting on your walking clothes and shoes then go outside and walk to the front of your house, put the bin out or check your mail. The purpose here is to build the habit of getting ready and leaving the house.
Again, once you can practice this consistently for at least two weeks, then we move to the next step.
Your next step is to walk to the end of your street/block (whichever is closest). Once you’ve made that small walk, you’re ready to head home.
Keep practicing this until you can consistently do this for at least two weeks. Once you’ve got this down, it’s time to build on that walk.
This bit is really important. Pick somewhere close that you could walk to before you head out.
When we have a plan ready, it’s easy for the habit that we’ve been practicing to play out for us. In this case getting ready and going outside should be pretty easy for you to do by now without thinking much about it.
You can make one particular location the place that you walk to build this habit. Spend at least two weeks following all the steps you’ve already built and go for your short walk.
When this is something that you can consistently do for at least two weeks then you can find somewhere else maybe a little further away to walk to.
You can see that by slowly building these habits we are keeping it achievable. It’s not one big thing, with a lot of steps that we have to try to just make happen.
This method can be used for starting any habit by first, figuring out what new habit you want to bring into your life.
Once you are solid on that, you can break it down into as many steps as you like. Start really small, take at least two weeks practicing your small thing and then look at adding to it.
There is no rush here. Take as much time as you need to feel good about it. After all this habit is for you, there’s no pressure here and you don’t have to be perfect at any point either.
If you’re finding starting something very new a bit of a challenge, Zay suggested “stacking” your new habit on top of one that you already do.
For example, if every morning you have a coffee try adding your new habit into this practice. You might have a coffee and while you wait for the water to boil, you might pop into your walking clothes and shoes, then drink your coffee.
Or drink your coffee, then get changed. The order doesn’t really matter. The important thing here is that we are adding a little something extra onto a habit that we can already do easily.
It can make it much easier to start that new habit when we stack it in this way. Just remember to take your time and be kind to yourself through the process.