My Secret to Forming Habits


Jan 22 2016

Gold Tape

My Secret to Forming Habits

There are two kinds of New Year’s Resolution, right? You can set goals, which are one-time things, or you can commit to a habit, meaning, do this every day/once a week/x number of times.

Whichever type you set, be super specific about what the task is.

^ That is the first step.

Next, make that big, number one resolution actually quite small.

It should be a challenge, but only a tiny challenge. Some of my most successful habits: get fresh air in the morning. be hydrated. turn off my computer at 11pm*.

* I took this small step back in 2012. I now turn off my computer at 9pm!

My Secret to Forming Habits

Here’s the life-changing part: Set yourself an Extra Credit Resolution.

I’ve been trying to finish Cassey’s Blogilates Beginners Calendar for like, months. It involves doing about 3 pilates videos a day, and they are NOT EASY.

For January, she released a new 30 Day Waist Trainer Challenge, which is much less time-consuming, and much less of a sudden commitment. The first day is just 5 reps of 3 different moves (but by Day 3 you’re doing 22 reps of all 5 moves!).

Here’s what I did:

  1. I committed to doing the Waist Trainer Challenge in January. I would have to do the day that matched the date, so it’s to my advantage to do my exercises every day, to gradually build up the strength to the end. The more days I skipped, the harder it would be.
  2. Extra Credit: Change into fitness clothes first thing in the morning. I could easily do my crunches in my pajamas, but here’s the thing: I realised that a huge barrier to getting in a longer workout is not wanting to change into fitness clothes. It’s stupid. I know. But taking the extra – what? 20 seconds? – to change helps ingrain that habit into my day.
  3. Extra Extra Credit: Do a day of the Blogilates Beginners Calendar. The hardest part is starting, but once I’ve already warmed up and put on fitness clothes, why not just keep going? I want to finish that calendar and graduate to her monthly workouts!

So, make your resolutions two-fold.

Identify the trigger, that incremental step that gets you started. The one that makes you feel accomplished for doing, and makes you go “hey, that wasn’t hard at all.” << because the hardest part is starting!

Then set a harder task that forces you to step up your game. You’ve take that first step and marked it off on your calendar with satisfaction. Now seize that momentum and keep going!

Even when I don’t set myself an Extra Credit Resolution, I find that completing one task inspires me to keep going. If I’m being really good about exercise, chances are I will be eating well too, because success feels so great! (the downside, of course, is that when I’m not doing so well at a habit, other habits tend to follow suit. Good thing I have an in case of emergency list to pick myself up!)


Let me know in the comments – did you set a New Year’s Resolution? Are you trying to build a habit? What is an Extra Credit Resolution you can aim for on top of it?


P.S. How to Break a Bad Habit

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