My mum was a smoker for most of my life, even when she was pregnant (it was the early 80s, don’t judge). Then one day, a bit over 6 years ago, she announced that she was quitting. This wasn’t her first attempt and I didn’t think it would be the last, but I tried my best to be encouraging. The joke was on me though; she hasn’t smoked since!
(Let’s all just take a moment to mentally high five my mum please, ta).
What was it about this time that stuck?
Actually, I don’t know (sorry guys. Chris will tell you it’s around the time he met my mum and leave you to connect those dots however you will…). Somehow, when the time is right everything falls neatly into place, and your new habit sticks. The frustrating part is that we don’t know when the time is right until we’re there! When we want to start a new habit (or kick an old one) it’s tempting to pick those headline days, like New Years Day or a Monday, because it adds weight to the resolution. Monday is a significant day to begin, I can start my week on the right foot. The truth is, that’s no less arbitrary than picking any other day.
You can commit to a healthy new diet every New Years’ or every birthday and drop off ten times over, then one random Wednesday in April you’ll throw out all of your junk food and never look back. Nearly 2 months ago I stepped into my first barre class and I’ve been going regularly ever since.
This isn’t just for health and fitness habits, either. Maybe you want to write every day. Maybe you want to turn off the TV and read more instead. Maybe you want to play more with your kids.
But if we don’t know what makes it stick, how do we know the best time to try? Well, you don’t. What it means is that you must never stop trying — trying new things, and having another go at things that didn’t work before.
Put yourself in the right place by trying things that bring you closer to your new habit, and one day you’ll fall into that sweet spot where it just works.