It happens time and time again. You set yourself a goal and you make a great start. But then life happens.

Things get in the way and, slowly but surely, your determination starts slipping. Give it a few weeks and that goal has fallen by the wayside.... Does this sound like you?

If so, we can help. Firstly, do not beat yourself up about your failed resolves. Everyone has experienced this same struggle.

For those of you wondering 'how long does it take to form a habit', the answer is different for everyone. It can take anywhere from 18 to 254 days. But hopefully these tips will help you set and stick to a habit that will become part of your daily routine.听

Set out clear goals

The first thing to do when you set out your habits is to make the end goal clear and concise. Do you want to walk more? Set yourself a number of steps per day or week that you want to accomplish.

Do you want to learn a new skill? Schedule time in your calendar that you will spend on it, say an hour per week. Do not just make your goal to eat healthier; make a note of the number of fruit and vegetables you intend to eat.听

In essence, make sure that these aims are easy to keep track of and not just vague听wishes.听

Start small

Perhaps you want to start exercises and you end goal is to run a marathon? If you听started trying to run 26.2 miles straight away, your goal would not last long. The same applies for all your goals!

When you want to build a habit, start small. Instead of immediately waking up an hour earlier, start by setting an alarm to wake up 10 minutes earlier. Then you can slowly build it up form there.听

Habit stack

How do you develop a habit? Habit stacking lets you integrate new goals into your everyday life.

Perhaps you want to be more mindfulness. Using the idea of habit stacking, you could incorporate this with your morning cup of tea. Practising 10 minutes of mindfulness while your hot drink is cooling is a great way of sticking to your habit.

Do you want to read more? If you take public transport, you could bring a book along and read while on the go.听

Tips for forming habits WEA blog

Prompt yourself听onwards

Small incentives are a great way to prompt you to stick to your habits. Perhaps your goal is to become more flexible. A great incentive is to only listen to your favourite podcast or watch your favourite TV show while you are stretching.

Maybe you鈥檝e gone a week of walking to work instead of getting the bus? You could treat yourself to听a coffee from your favourite cafe.

Allow for flexibility

No one's journey to forming a lasting habit is completely smooth sailing. You may have gotten a bad night鈥檚 sleep, and you need to hit the snooze. You might have a busy day and cannot find time to fit in that hour for your course.

These things happen. But don't let a small setback derail your whole habit. Simply brush yourself off and get right back on the horse.听听

Keep track of your goal

A great tip to start new habits is to write them down. Research suggests that people who write their goals are 1.2 to 1.4 times more likely to achieve them! But don鈥檛 just use this technique for forming a new habit.

Noting your habit journey is also a great way to maintain your goal. You can track it by taking photos, keeping a journal or by making notes about it in your phone or on your calendar. Whatever way you prefer, by staying on top of it, you are keeping the habit at the forefront of your mind.听

Waking up early WEA blog

Don鈥檛 set yourself to many new habits

As we鈥檝e been saying throughout this, habit formation is hard. So why on earth would you make it harder by giving yourself more habits to keep? Do not try and overwhelm yourself with a multitude of habits. Keep things simple and take things one habit at a time.听听

Tell people about it

A great to build a long term habit is to tell your friends and family about it. Make yourself accountable to those around you by letting them know about your goal. Staying motivated is hard, especially when you鈥檙e always having to egg yourself on. So why not get yourself some cheerleaders to lighten the load and spur you on when your motivation is low.听

We hope that helped! Now you know how to make lasting habits, why not test it out and set yourself a new goal? If you're looking for some inspiration, why not check out our courses and make the commitment to turn your goal into a reality.听

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About the author

Kay Field

Digital Marketing Officer

Kay is the Digital Marketing Officer at the WEA.