Why 66 days?
It takes approximately 66 days to form a habit. If you can make it through the first push, then you are settled in for the rest of the year.
However, to effectively set and maintain these habits, you need to prioritise them. It’s easy for people to tell you to prioritise your goals – but once you get back into your usual work/play/sleep routine, it becomes much more difficult. You have deadlines, stressors, relationships and personal issues that all start arising. Sometimes all it takes is one day of feeling like pizza instead of a salad, and you give up on the whole goal.
Overcoming setbacks and maintaining motivation can help you consistently strive to achieve your goals. But before you deal with these setbacks, you need to ensure the building blocks are stable. By prioritising good habits, you can embark on a journey of progress and achieve your goals.
So, how do I actually set these good habits?
Creating good habits requires commitment, perseverance and resilience. You can use a few handy hints to try and make it past the 66-day threshold, and set your habits into daily routine.
- Link your new habit to an existing one. For example, if your goal was to become more aware of global issues. When you wake up in the morning and check your phone to turn off your alarm, spend 10 minutes reading the top news headlines. Gradually, checking your phone will become associated with reading headlines, and you will begin to increase your awareness of global issues.
- Share your new habit. Tell people that you are trialling a new idea and changing your behaviour – you can even ask them to check in with you. This consolidates the idea in your mind and leads to increased accountability.
- Make yourself accountable. Write your habit down and tick things off. Set follow-up dates – work on your new habit for a minimum of 30 days, with no exceptions. Then, try to extend this to 50 days, then 70. This takes you over the threshold of 66 days, and your new habit should be fully formed.
We hear you. It’s easier said than done… how do I prioritise these habits?
- Start a journal or use the notes app on your phone and write down all of the tasks that you want to achieve that day.
- Take a minute to identify whether you will actually be able to complete those tasks on that day. If not, make a second ‘ongoing projects’ list.
- Put them in order of urgency for the day – considering if one task is essential for another to be completed, or if other people are waiting on specific tasks.
- Move the task you are least looking forward to doing first. Get it over and done with, and be proud of yourself for doing so.
- At the end of the day, write a list of things that you might not have gotten around to so you can start fresh the next day with another list of priorities. The tasks moved to the next day should be labelled ‘2’, and continue to increase as the day does. Then, try to complete the highest numbers as they are the ones you have been putting off for the longest.
- Focus on one task at a time – it can be easy to get distracted when you hit a block at work. You might want to jump from one task to the other, but this can end up being detrimental to your end result. You are better off taking a small break and then returning to the same task.
Remember that setbacks are all a part of the journey, but with consistency and motivation, you can make progress, achieve your goals and form healthy habits. You’ve got this!