You did a 30 day challenge. You focused, you stayed with it and you feel like it was long enough to establish some really good habits.
And now you’re facing the end of the challenge and panic ensues. What now? How do you keep up the good habits without the daily email reminders and Facebook group support?
I’ve participated in many 30 day and 21 day challenges and I’ve learned a thing or two about how to sustain your good habits after you finish a challenge.
Here are my top four tips for sustaining a habit after the challenge is over:
- Remember your “why”. There was a reason why you cared about doing this in the first place. What was it? Write it down, put it somewhere you can see it at all times, make it a constant, daily reminder, why you are doing this . If you remember your “why” it will help you sustain the new habit long after the challenge is over.
- Find a trigger. Episode # 201 of the Chalene Show does a great job of explaining this concept if you want to get more in depth but the jist of it is this: You have to associate your new habit with something else you’re already doing automatically. When I finished the 21 day Virgin Diet, I had established a habit of always fixing the Virgin Diet smoothie right after my workout. My workout routine was pretty well established so I got into the habit of heading straight into the kitchen right after the workout to make my smoothie. This also works beautifully to tie two good habits together. If I missed a workout I was less likely to have the smoothie because it was the workout that triggered the action of making the smoothie. Identifying your trigger helps you to sustain the new habit because the actions begin to happen together, one after the other. The new habit is automatically triggered by the old habit.
- Get addicted to the reward. I can’t honesty say that I love to run. It hurts get going, no matter how slow I’m going it still feels crazy hard and half the time I feel like my heart is trying to leap out of my chest. But I looooooove how I feel after a long run. I feel invincible, strong,a and bad ass. And over the years I’ve become addicted to that feeling. I crave it. That craving helps me sustain the new habit.
- Remove all obstacles no matter how silly. I realized that one of the reasons I would not want to be bothered with making smoothie was what I deemed as an arduous task of pulling out my Nutri Bullet and it’s attachments. It was silly and lazy and seemingly not that big of a deal but for me it was just one more thing I had to do and it made me pause. So I simply stopped storing it. I just gave myself permission to have a slightly junkier countertop and left the Nutri Bullet out. Problem Solved. Sometimes the obstacle may seem silly and you may think to yourself, “I should just get over it”. But if it’s keeping you from sustaining your habit then its not silly. Identify the obstacle and remove it to give yourself a better chance at sustaining your habit.
Challenges are fun and they can be a great way to get a jumpstart on is healthier life but you must prepare for the end of this challenge if you hope to sustain the new habit you worked to hard to achieve. Look at your life and see what stands in your way and fix it before the challenge is over. If you don’t you might find yourself going of challenged and feeling like they don’t work. The challenges work but you have to put in the afterwards to make sure the habits stick for good.
Do you have trouble sticking to habits after you do a challenge? What’s your biggest hurdle? Leave a comment below let’s discuss. As always, the FoodLove Community is here and we’re listening .
1. The Chalene Show – Episode #201 – Let’s Get Things Done, discusses this idea of a “trigger” to help you sustain the new habit. (scroll down to episode 201 and dowload from itunes)
2, James Clear – The Habit Guide