Building positive habits

Humans tend to be creatures of habit and most of us have a few habits we could do without.

Did you know that around 40% of everything we do each day is habitual?

When we think about building positive habits, they are often health related – exercising regularly, eating a nutritious diet and drinking more water. They might also be around making a budget, saving or learning something new. These are great habits and will do wonders for your health and wellbeing.

There are also a few that are easy to do and can make a positive difference. Habits such as practicing gratitude, laughing more and giving compliments are small habits that will give you and those around you a measurable lift.

Habits tend to work in three stages

  1. Something creates a trigger (e.g. a time of day or an emotional state)
  2. The trigger automates an action (your habit)
  3. The action provides an outcome (could be a positive or negative outcome)
In order to build a new habit or break one you already have there are a few steps that will help. First you need to identify the habit that you want to build or break. Then you need to determine the trigger of this habit or if you are building a new habit think about what the right trigger might be. For example, if you want to build a habit of drinking more water, you could consider drinking a glass each time you make a cup of tea or coffee.

Tips for creating positive habits

Habits are the basis of our success and taking control of our habits helps us to take control of our life. We are what we repeatedly do, so work out your plan and get started!

Choose a habit that is important to you and focus only on that.
Be clear about what the habit is. For example, instead of wanting to exercise more make it specific and measurable.
Before you get started make sure you have what you need. For example, if you’re wanting to stop drinking, get rid of the alcohol in your house.
Know your why
Be clear on why you want to build or break this habit and the benefits it will bring you.
Commit publicly
Share your goal with family and friends to help keep you accountable.
Know what helps
Be aware of situations that help or hinder your progress. For example, if you’re trying to quit smoking, recognise the situations you are likely to smoke and avoid them.
Record progress
Use a journal to write down how you are going each day with your progress.
Commit to a reward that will motivate you at the outset and make sure you celebrate.


Download tip sheet as a PDF

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