21/90 Rule: Turning Habits into a Lifestyle

How can you make positive choices that turn into habits and then eventually become a lifestyle? It’s not easy, but it’s important to constantly try to become better and more productive. And how do you become more productive and successful? You make good habits.

The 21/90 rule is all about how habits become a lifestyle — we all want to drink more water, exercise more often, and focus on our finances. But how many times have you told yourself “I’ll get to it later” when actually you don’t change anything at all? Realistically, pretty often. We all believe we will get x, y, or z done, but when it gets down to it, we seem to get distracted and give up much too soon. It’s all about your attitude and how you approach your goals; turning habits into lifestyle changes involves lots of focused action, discipline, and perseverance.

I recommend following the 21/90 rule — it takes 21 days to make or break a habit and 90 to turn that habit into a lifestyle. So, if you’re trying to give up sugar, it’s important to understand that it will take about 3 months to really feel comfortable and that it’s “second nature”.

Set Yourself Up for Success

If you want to make healthy habits, set yourself up for success. First things first, this means creating a morning routine. Maybe you like to meditate, listen to music, exercise, or enjoy a coffee in silence in the morning. Whatever it may be, get into the habit of taking time to yourself to get yourself ready for the day. This will allow your brain to wake up and get you conscious about what you are going to do. Creating a routine will kickstart your success because it allows you to start your day on a positive note.

Second, setting yourself up for success means being consistent.

Activities that you schedule in every day become easier to lock into a habit. It’s hard to get into the mindset of doing something new if you’re only doing it occasionally, so try as best as possible to incorporate your goals into your day-to-day life. But also, start simple. Trying to over-complicate and add too many habits at once will muddy the waters and make it difficult to focus on change. You can’t overhaul your life in one day, and it’s easy to get over-motivated in the heat of the moment. Build one habit at a time.

Develop Supportive Tactics

We all need strategies for incorporating new habits into our life, and there are lots of different tips and tricks you can utilize to help yourself out. Most importantly, none of us can multitask, and the greatest thing you can do to support yourself is to give up the idea that you can get multiple things done at once. Furthermore, constantly juggling between different tasks limits your ability to effectively complete any one thing.

Multitasking limits efficiency and increases the chances of making a mistake.

Instead, try different organizational tools, such as writing it down or using an reminder app on your phone.

Write/type out a list of the things you need to get done and prioritize them from most to least important. I find that writing things down is a great way to see what needs to get done as well as motivate me to work on one task at a time. Writing things down makes your ideas more clear and focused. Plus, doesn’t it feel so amazing to cross things off as you complete them? Here’s a secret: it feels great.

Also, figure out what environment you are most productive in. Whether it’s at home or in a space with others, finding what motivates you is vital when turning habits into a lifestyle. This also involves removing temptations, such as junk food if you’re trying to lose weight. No one has willpower 100% of the time, and don’t try to be a hero. Put yourself in a situation that will limit things that will interfere with your goals long-term.

Your Mind as a Tool

When you feel like you’re not sure why you started, or when you’re feeling particularly vulnerable to giving up, think things through. Know the benefits of making this change, and tune into your body and life to see how great it feels to be improving your life, in whatever area it may be.

Also, practice gratitude. Being appreciative of where you are can do a lot to help feelings of wanting to give up. When you go through life seeking to see the good and to appreciate it in return, you will be much more grounded and mindful of your surroundings. Even when you’re not feeling motivated to pursue your goals and habits, taking a moment to step back and be grateful can really help to remind you why you started in the first place. You will reap many more benefits if you integrate gratitude into your life.

The importance overall here is to develop lifestyle changes that will last. Who cares if you give up alcohol or start exercising for 8 days? I mean, it’s a good start, but it won’t change your life. In fact, it won’t even put a dent in it. So instead, focus on making changes that will enhance your life for the better.

It is the difference between motivation and dedication — motivation will only last you so long, so you will need to have habits and practices in place so that you will be successful long-term. Don’t feel like you have to master it all at once, but take one step at a time. In the first 30 days of creating any new habit, set yourself up for success and develop support tactics so that you can ensure you will triumph. Then, once you’ve created that habit for yourself, use your mind to motivate and inspire you until said habit becomes apart of your lifestyle.

It may not be easy, but it’s worth making changes that will improve your life.

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