Building a new healthy habit into your routine is always a tough challenge. It takes time, patience, and the odd setbacks might occur. But we're creatures of habit, and the key is how you approach habits that will result in them sticking.

Once you've thought about the areas you want to improve on, you can easily take steps to bring about positive change and introduce new habits into your routine. Here are some tips to help you do just that:

1 . Start small

It’s really important to not overwhelm yourself, and suddenly overhaul your entire life at once. Start by setting small habits and goals to achieve first. Then over a longer period of time all the small changes that you have managed to successfully stick to in your routine will result in a bigger change for the good.

2 . Take it one step at a time

Make sure to breakdown the habit you’re trying to achieve into small, simple steps. When we try to do too much in one go, we can easily lose focus and not give each habit the attention is needs to develop fully.

3 . Keep track

Measuring and keeping a log of what you’re trying to achieve is a great way to be accountable in making sure you achieve your targets. Additionally, it helps you to review your progress if you find that things need tweaking or adjusting. 

4 . Lean on your support network

Like anything worth doing, developing a healthy habit is hard, and a support network will go a long way in supporting your changes. If you’re surrounded by people who are still active in the lifestyle you’re trying to get away from, it’ll be more difficult to maintain. Encourage your family and loved ones to join in with you. Not only will it increase your chances of success, but it will also deepen your relationships as you learn new things together.

5 . Consistency is key

The more you do something, the quicker it will feel like a natural part of your routine and become a habit. For example, the more you work out before breakfast, the quicker it will feel like a completely normal part of your day. 

6 . Reward yourself

Practicing positive reinforcement throughout your journey of adopting a new habit is a great tool to help keep consistentency. Reward yourself even for the small steps and successes, and before you know it, you'll have built a habit.

7. Amend your environment

Our environment plays a huge role in persuading and influencing our behaviour. So, make sure your environment is supporting your new habit and not being a factor that hinders you. Remove any barriers that might be preventing you from taking a positive step in your new habit.

8 . Don’t be afraid of setbacks

Setbacks are a natural part of anything in life and should be used as a learning curve instead of a road-block. If you drop the ball, don’t be hard on yourself, draw a line, forget about it and start again. Every day is a new opportunity to succeed so take it one day at a time and aim to be consistent. 

The most important thing to bear in mind is to not be so hard on yourself. The last year has been difficult and incredibly emotional for many of us. So cut yourself some slack; it’s natural for your habits to have changed in this period, and when you’re ready to start working towards a new and more positive routine, take it step by step. 

CABA provides free lifelong support to past and present ICAEW members, ACA students, ICAEW staff, and their close family members.

If you’re going through a difficult time, we're here to listen and help, find out how CABA can support you.