Babies suck their thumbs, kids pick their noses, teenagers yell at Mom, and some adults tap their feet or bite their nails. Habits, especially bad ones, are inescapable. As soon as we’ve quit one, another has formed to remind us that more work can always be done. There are, of course, also good habits like checking one’s bank account for fraudulent charges or going to the gym every day at 5:30 pm. Habits help us stay accountable and identify opportunities for self improvement.

Did you know that it takes two weeks to form a habit?  By focusing on the steps that lead to achieving the habit, you will be more consistent, and successful in forming the habit. 

As an example, if your desired habit is going to the gym daily, change clothes as soon as you get home, grab water, and leave the house. If you want a reminder to take something with you before you leave the house, place the car key on top of it.  

It’s also easier to form healthy habits if you break them down into smaller accomplishments and goals. Don’t focus on losing 50 pounds or going to the gym for 90 minutes every day. Focus on a 20-minute home workout after dinner to start or biking a few miles on the weekends. Forming small habits is much easier and less daunting than tackling the result.

Don’t forget that there will always be setbacks, as there are with any goal or progress being made. Sometimes you need a cheat day, sometimes a break from your routine; either way, don’t beat yourself up about it. Everyone has those days and it’s okay to take a step back occasionally. Stay focused, stay determined, and continue your routine tomorrow. Remember that perfection is never the goal, progress is. 

Everyone is different, and everyone will form their own habits on their own timeline. Find what works best for you and strive to build new habits and end bad ones. Let’s all improve ourselves and our actions to create the best version of ourselves.