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Learning a new habit, such as eating healthier or exercising more, can be very difficult. It helps if you link it to something you already do anyway.

Formulate your new habit

Formulate what your new habit should be. Is your goal to drink more water? Try and link this to an exisiting habit, such as going to the toilet. You can now make a plan: after every toilet visit, you’ll drink a glass of water.Ā 

The next step is to remind yourself of this plan (don’t skip this step! Personally, I would constantly forget something like this šŸ¤Ŗ). You can form this new habit by making a so-called ‘if-then plan’:

Forming a new habit in 4 steps

Step 1: grab a pen and paper or your cell phone (choose something you look at every second of your life so that you always come across this plan šŸ˜„).

Step 2: write down your new habit in the form of: “If Iā€¦., then I…”

For example: If I’ve gone to the toilet, then I’ll drink a glass of water.

Other examples are for example šŸ˜:

  • If I’m bored (or feeling sad/lonely/angry/tired), then I’ll call a friend (or take a walk/lie down for a while/write in my diary/sing and dance along to my favorite music at full volume/whatever you need besides snacking).
  • If I get home from work, then I’ll eat a bowl of snack vegetables (of course you prepare this the morning or evening before; and you can put a reminder in your calendar for this).

Step 3: at first it can be useful to create a reminder in your calendar for your new habit (if this is applicable of course).

Step 4: don’t let your plan gather dust: tell everyone who wants to hear it (or tell them anyway), and write it on a post-it that you stick on every surface (mirror, the cupboard with goodies, your secret hiding place where your kids and partner can’t find it, etc.).

Visualise yourself acting out this new habit

Carry out your plan in your head a few times. Imagine the situation in which you will implement your plan:

  • Where are you?
  • Who is with you?
  • How do you feel?

If you form a lifelike image of it in your head (or pretend to act in a film of your own making is also possible!), you are more likely to actually carry out your plan.

Good luck!

Best wishes,