Creating habits that stick: Hannah Gill

Too often we promise ourselves we will beat a bad habit or replace it with a new, improved version, only to give up trying soon after. Hannah Gill explains why resolutions fail and what you can do to stay on track.

Do you often promise to change your ways or introduce new routines only to revert to your old ways?

Happily, this is not one of those many articles currently doing the rounds that falsely promise you a quick and easy route to a reinvigorated, supremely productive, newly efficient version of yourself.

Have you ever set a resolution along the lines of, “I’m going from an 8am wake-up, with 11 scheduled snoozes, to getting up at 4.30am and meditating before swiftly conquering yoga practice, journaling and harvesting my abundant fruit crop to create a #fitspo smoothie – all before arriving, bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, at my desk, for my 9am start”?

Instead of immediate gratification, let’s talk about creating habits that stand the test of time, resulting in sustained success.

While it’s tempting to go all-in, research shows that small, incremental change is far more effective in forming habitual behaviours over large-scale change that requires an overhaul of existing practices.

So, with all of that in mind, here are five tips to help you achieve your goals.

1. Get in touch with your ‘why?’

Your why is your motivation. Understanding what you want is one thing, but understanding why you want these things is a critical ingredient to achieving your goals.

What is it that gets you out of bed in the morning? What drives you to do what you do?

This is a unique and often deeply personal reflection, and can be anything from your family and friends, to health and wellbeing, or building wealth and anything in between.

Your goals should be aligned with your why.

If you don’t care deeply about your goals, what’s the point in going after them?

2. Accept that changing habits takes time

It takes 21 days to build or change a habit. That’s 21 days of steady, sustained and incremental change.

Don’t be afraid to start small when it comes to working towards your goals.

Rather than moving your alarm from 8am to 5am, try moving from 8am to 6am and reduce the number of snoozes.

Gradually build up to your end goal, rather than taking a cold turkey/all-in approach (depending on your goal).

Oh, and remember, as is essential to any change: be kind to yourself.

3. Write it down

Writing lists is a great way to help with clarity and operational productivity from a work perspective.

Unsurprisingly, having a clear picture of the specific tasks that contribute towards achieving a goal is incredibly helpful.

A positive practice is writing your to-do list for the next day before you leave the office.

By getting it down on paper, you’re allowing yourself an opportunity to reflect on what you’ve achieved and what needs to be worked on and prioritised.

This practice has the added bonus of getting ‘work’ out of your mind before going home, enabling you to be present for your loved ones when you walk in the door.

4. Review your goals daily

Ever set a goal and promptly forgotten about it?

Build a habit of checking your progress every day and refocusing on what you are trying to achieve.

Know what actions you need to take every day to help you get to where you want to be.

5. Recruit your people to keep you accountable

Verbalising your goals and what it is you’re working towards is an excellent way of recruiting your support network (family, friends, team) to help keep you accountable.

Your people want to see you succeed, so by letting them know what you’re striving for, you allow them the opportunity to help.

6. A bonus tip for you…

While we’re here, it would be remiss not to mention that any goal – be it personal or professional – must be SMART.

That is, specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and timed.

Having the ability to track whether you’re on course to achieve your goal and whether you’ve completed it, is crucial in building momentum around resolutions and ultimately making them stick.

Here’s to 2021 being a year to focus on our goals, and ultimately achieve them.

Hannah Gill is the Director of The Property Collective, REIACT President and one half of Gill & Hooper.

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Hannah Gill

Hannah Gill is the Director of The Property Collective, REIACT President and one half of Gill & Hooper