5 Steps To Rebuild Your Habits

By Elles Lohuis Ph.D.

It happens, we slip up with whatever is healthy and good for us. Whether it is food, exercise, getting up early or other good habits… it’s okay to let it slip for a while as long as we’re aware of it (and we are – admit it!).

We can easily pull ourselves up again. How? By taking these 5 action steps – right here, right now:

Step 1 – Take Stock

Take an honest look at your behavior and recognize the last time you displayed your healthy habit. When was the last time you put on those running shoes, packed that healthy lunch, got up at 5 am, wrote those 500 words a day?

Take stock of the time – yes, it was a while ago but you can still remember – acknowledge what exactly was going on in your life.

Acknowledge what happened, what was going on that made you let your habit slip.

Acknowledging this essential – you need to be aware of those exact triggers in the future. Get into your feelings, your emotions while you let your mind wander back to that exact time.

Sure, it’s uncomfortable, you probably feel like a failure and want to run, but hey, that is exactly why we find it so much more difficult to restart a habit than start a new one… we just don’t want to be reminded of a previous commitment we didn’t keep!

Step 2 – Clean your Slate

Let is go. Let it go mentally by acknowledging your behavior – ‘I acknowledge I slipped up. I tried my best & make a mistake. This happens in life & now I am moving on to a better future.’

Let it go emotionally by forgiving yourself – ‘I realize I made a mistake. I am human. I did my best & I forgive myself. I am allowing myself to move on & I deserve to move on to a better future.’

Emotional forgiveness is not easy for most of us, but it is a vital step to clean your inner slate. Be gentle with yourself, so no beating yourself up. And yes, give it a little time to sink in.

Acknowledge mentally, forgive emotionally & there’s no lingering resentment that will keep you from rebuilding on a solid new foundation.

Step 3 – Recommit to your WHY

Find your reason, your WHY again. Why are you getting up early? Eating healthy? Exercising? Writing? Creating? Take pen, paper & 5 minutes & ask yourself WHY for every answer your come up with till you find something significant. To give you my example: Why do I get up early?  I get up early because I have more time for myself in the morning.

Why is that important to me? Because having me-time in the morning means meditation, reconnecting to my inner core, preparing my day, setting my inner compass.
Why is that really important to me? Because this is vital for me to connect with my personal growth & mental health.

There you have it – my WHY!

Step 4 – Re-identify your Triggers

Remember what it was that triggered you into your habit in the first place.

Connect again with that initial trigger; feel the emotions and experiences that made you decide to commit to your habit. Remember that excitement? Feeling that commitment when you saw the benefits of this habit?

Maybe your trigger was that post that you read, or that conversation that you had, or that video you watched… read, watch it again. Call that person you had the conversation with that triggered your habit. Get into the mood again!

Remember your behavior when it worked….you put your running dates in your diary & rewarded yourself with that sauna, made your healthy meal plan for the week & that was so easy to keep, had your notebook with you for whenever inspiration struck & always kept yourself in creative zest… Get into the behavior again!

And the triggers that made you slip up? Probably something like ‘no time, full schedule, not ‘feeling like it’ , temporarily busy’… Yes, good to identify and realize that these are external circumstances. Nothing but external circumstances that you used as excuse. Yes, pitiful excuses to not put yourself first. That’s done now.

Get geared up, internally & externally, to re-start your habit. Get into that ‘mood’ & the behavior again by using these past triggers. You know it worked and it will work again now that you are aware, ready to rebuild with renewed commitment.

Step 5 – Get Accountable

Accountability works, it’s a proven thing. Take responsibility for your habit and get accountable for rebuilding, for moving into it again. Recruit a workout buddy, join a group of like-minded peeps, either virtually or locally. Join a running club, gather some co-workers, whatever it takes to keep you accountable.

It’s easy – with so many online groups to connect virtually these days you have no excuse.
Five easy steps to rebuild your habit – successfully. No more excuses.

Whatever habit you are rebuilding,  I’m offering you my personal support to succeed.

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2 Responses to “5 Steps To Rebuild Your Habits”
  1. It is really mind blowing. Thank you so much for sharing, be happy ameen.

  2. Kim Tawa says:

    Thank you so much for your invaluable insight I find your website very informative and helpful.

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