Well done! You’ve completed your 21 Day journey, but what happens now? If you’re part of the #21Days community and have pledged to take positive steps towards your goals, read on for advice on your next steps and how to maintain your good habits.
How can you maintain new habits?
Once you’ve hit a target, it’s important to move forward without losing sight of what you’re trying to accomplish. Sticking to your newly formed habits is essential, so you’re not tempted to fall back into your old ways. Follow our tips to make sure that your new habits become permanent and last far longer than 21 days:
Consistency is key
It might sound like a cliché, but it’s easy to start slacking when you’ve hit your first milestone. But in order to stick to new habits, it’s crucial to keep going at a steady pace. Speaking to University College London, psychologist Dr Phillippa Lally emphasised the importance of being consistent. She said: “If someone wants to form a habit they should specify clearly what they will do and in what situation and try to do this consistently. Over time it will start to happen more easily and require less effort.”
Keep track of your progress
There’s evidence to suggest that monitoring your own goals is an effective way to keep them going. Recording your goals and your progress is especially helpful when you’re on your way to achieving a target. Write regular updates in a diary or use an app on your phone to track your achievements. You’ll be able to monitor how you’re doing, how far you’ve come and how far you’ve got to go. This means you’ll know if you need to push yourself harder or if you’re already on track.
When you’re trying to set a habit in stone, studies suggest that showing yourself some appreciation for what you’ve achieved so far is a good way to keep the new behaviour going. Choose a reward that will help you stay focused, rather than one that will outdo all of your success. For example, if you’ve managed to lose a few pounds buy yourself some clothes instead of treating yourself to a huge meal.
Telling your friends, family and other people around you about your commitment could mean you’re more likely to stick to your new behaviour. According to research, the support from those around you is just as motivational as the shame of them knowing you’ve failed. The same effect can even be seen on social media. In one study, people who joined a ‘giving up smoking’ group on Twitter bettered their chances of quitting.
Learning to expect hurdles is a useful technique to make sure you’re not put off by them. Instead of giving at the first sign of failure, appreciate that any stumbling blocks are temporary. So, there’s no need to abandon your new healthy eating plan and finish off the whole packet just because you had a biscuit or two. On his blog, author James Clear mentions the importance of keeping failures in perspective, “It’s never my intention to make a mistake, but if I do, I have given myself permission to view my progress over a longer timeline than a single day or an individual event.”
If you’re focused on building a new habit and are on the path to making new habits stick, it helps to remember that ever journey begins with small steps. Remember how far you’ve come and keep going towards your goals to change your lifestyle and your health for the better.
See how others got on with their #21Days journey