How to Form New Habits and Keep Them

Learn 3 easy steps you can take to form new habits and several simple things you can do to ensure you keep them.



Simple Ways To Form New Habits


In my continual effort to better myself, I have been looking to form some new habits. I think we all have times in our lives where we intentionally want to change our behavior for the better and create new habits for ourselves. This could mean getting in the habit of eating healthier, drinking more water, or it could be becoming more active and taking the dog for a daily walk. Maybe it could be work related, or spiritual, or…you get the picture. There are so many areas in our lives that could be improved and made easier if only we created new habits.


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Getting into the habit of doing something is often easier said than done. We seem to acquire bad habits without any effort but getting into a “good” habit can be a little more challenging.



Let’s break it down into a three-step process that makes it easy to follow until we’ve made the new behavior into a true habit – something we do automatically without having to think about, like brushing our teeth.


1. Decide What You Want to Do


The first step is to decide what you want that new habit to be. Be as specific as possible. Don’t just tell yourself you want to exercise more. Instead, say something like “I will go for a 30 minute walk every single day”.  Deciding what your new habit will be and committing to when and how you’re going to do it, is half the battle.


2. Remind Yourself to Get It Done


The first few days should be smooth sailing. You’re motivated and excited to get this done. Sticking to your new habit isn’t an issue. But in a few days, you’ll notice that it’s easy to slip back into old habits.


Maybe it’s raining and you don’t really want to go out and walk, or maybe your day just gets away from you. This is when it’s important to have a daily reminder. Set an alarm on your phone or add the new habit to your daily to-do list for a while.



3. Make It Part of Your Routine Until It Becomes a Habit


It takes some time before a new behavior becomes a true habit. Until then, a routine will work to your best advantage. Even before the new behavior becomes automatic, a routine will help you get it done without having to spend a lot of willpower or relying on daily reminders.


Make that daily walk part of your after dinner routine or change from grabbing a snack at the vending machine at work at 10:00 in the morning to packing a healthy snack.


Decide to create the new habit, practice the routine until it’s second nature and you’ll be well on your way to forming a new good habit. But as we all know, creating new habits isn’t always easy. Here are five simple hacks that will make it a little easier. Use them until you’ve internalized the new habit and don’t need them anymore.


Make It Public and Be Accountable


Let family and friends know what new habits you’re trying to establish. They will call you out if you don’t stick to your plan and get you back on track.


You may even go as far as sharing it publicly on Facebook or write a blog about your new journey. Knowing that others read it and know about it might be just enough to keep you going when you feel like throwing in the towel.


Add It to a Habit You Already Have


Whenever possible, add the new habit to one you already have. For example, if you fix a cup of tea or coffee at 4pm, and you want to get in the habit of taking a daily walk, make the new ritual to go for your walk and then come back and enjoy your tea. 


It’s much easier to amend an existing habit or ritual than to create an entirely new one.


Make Slip Ups Costly


Here’s a fun idea. Put a jar on the kitchen counter and each time you slip back into your bad habit or forget to stick to the new one you must put five dollars in the jar. It will quickly help you remember to skip that sugary food and motivate you to go out for that walk. For extra motivation, donate the money to a favorite charity at the end of the month.


Find a Partner and Help Each Other Along


Find someone with the same or similar goal. This could be a workout partner or a diet buddy. Keep tabs on each other and encourage each other to keep going. It’s much harder to skip a walk if you know someone else is depending on you being there.

Make It a Group Challenge


If one accountability partner is good, a whole group is even better. And they don’t even need to be local. Find a supportive group online and challenge each other to stick to your new habit for the next 30 days or so. Not wanting to be the first one to give up will keep all of you going until you establish that new habit.


Give these simple little hacks a try. Keep using the ones that you find helpful until you have made new habits you can stick with without the help of any tools or support.


If you enjoyed this article, check out a few of my others:

11 Ways to Grow Into Midlife

Powerful Morning Habits

How To Become Kinder

What new habits would you like to form? Let me know in the comments below.


15 thoughts on “3 Steps to Form New Habits & Simple Ways to Keep Them”

  1. These are very great ideas. We all need to develop new habits as we make new changes in life.

  2. These are great tips! Sharing your habit with others definitely makes you more accountable. I need to make picking up my house at the end of the night a habit!

  3. Great tips, I’m always looking for ways to start and keep new habits.

  4. There are some great tips here. I totally agree you need to tell people. That way you have to do it and are accountable. I do that with big decisions so I don’t back down.

  5. I love this idea – especially the Make It Costly suggestion! I’ve been trying to get to the gym more often and I’ve been trying to stick to my points in WW. I think I’m about to start a jar!

  6. Building healthy positive habits is so important, but sometimes it’s easier said than done! Great tips/tricks to going about creating and implementing new habits. Thank you xo

  7. Over the past few months, one of my goals was to begin walking daily. Your tips are spot on! My partner was my husband (and our 2 dogs) and we’ve made a two-mile walk our morning routine, almost 7 days a week, for several months. We do our walk rain, snow or shine, even when it’s well below freezing here in Alaska. An additional component that has made a huge difference for me is to keep in mind WHY I wanted to make this change — and celebrate the health impacts my new habit brings! I feel better, think better, and our relationship is better since we start the day out moving and talking!

    I love your suggestions! Thank you!

    1. Elaine, I am so happy to hear this! Thank you for reminding us of the WHY factor – which is the reason a new habit needs to be formed in the first place.
      You rock, keep up the great work!! 🙂

  8. Pingback: Gratitude is an Attitude | Cool Bean Living

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