Give it 30 days: Making or breaking habits

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It doesn’t matter whether you’re trying to give up smoking or having a crack at introducing a new exercise regime, popular wisdom says it takes 30 days to make or break a habit. 

We’re sharing some great ideas for helping you get through that crucial first month to achieve your health and fitness goals.

Promise to dedicate a little time every day

A month is a good amount of time to give a habit the opportunity to stick, but only if you give it the opportunity to become a routine. To form a new habit, you really have to be strict with yourself during those first 30 days.

Start small and aim high

That said, if you try and launch into a brand new routine on the first day, you’re more likely to burn out. For habits that last, you want to introduce them a little bit at the time, making it much easier for you to adapt to the change.

Plan perfect rewards 

To really commit to new habits, you need to find a way to make them seem worth your while. Lots of bad habits feel as though they have positive rewards so you need to find good experiences to associate with better habits, for example, a smoothie after a trip to the gym.

Remove temptation

If possible, remove temptation from your home. If you’re giving up smoking, throw out all of your cigarettes. If you’re planning to exercise more, cancel your TV subscription. By making it harder to cheat, you’ll be doing yourself a big favour when you’re willpower begins to waver.

Set a reminder for the halfway point

When you’re halfway through your 30 days, you may find you’ve forgotten what made you so keen to make the change in the first place. Keep your energy going by setting reminders, on your phone or in your calendar, to make time for your new habit every single day for the duration.

Find the right substitute  

Rather than snacking on unhealthy food, sneaking a cigarette or drinking sugary drinks, get into the habit of having a cold glass of water. Chill a pitcher in your fridge and add cucumber, lemon or fresh berries for a delicate flavouring that will make it even more tempting.

Know exactly why you’re doing it

Motivate yourself to make a change and stick to it by spending some time educating yourself about the benefits of the switch. If you know exactly what forming this new, healthier habit could do for you, it’ll be much easier to follow through.

Do you have a surefire habit-forming tip?


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Silversurfers Features Editor

Hello there! I’m Rachel and I’m the Features Editor for Silversurfers. I work behind the scenes to bring interesting, informative and entertaining subject matter to the Silversurfers community. I hope you enjoy the features we have shared with you. Please feel free to comment below and share your thoughts with us, we love to hear from you!

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22nd Feb 2015
Thanks for voting!
1. "Make a public commitment"....tell your friends and family what you are going to do and why you are going to do it. You are more likely to stick to it if you make a public commitment.
2. Set goals that are within you locus of control e.g. "I will exercise for at least 30 minutes each day for the next 30 days", not "I will lose 10lbs".
3. Remember you are only commiting to 30 days....and not necessarily to a lifetime. If u want to tweak or even drop your new habit after 30 days you can but give it a 30 day commitment.
22nd Feb 2015
Thanks for voting!
My tip is if you are giving up smoking put the cost of your cigarettes , let's say £5 in a jar every day that you don't smoke, if after 30 days you have succeeded you should then have £150 to treat yourselves with, if on the other hand you fail then donate the money you have saved to cancer research, money is a great incentive, believe me it worked for me nearly 20 years ago, and I was a heavy smoker and had tried lots of times and failed.

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