Habits are not a finish line to be crossed; they are a lifestyle to be lived. A lifestyle extends throughout our life, so invariably there will be moments when you will miss the mark and fail to adhere to your new behaviour(s). When this happens:
- Be kind to yourself. Nothing is achieved by berating yourself and criticizing your every move; Double-check your motivation: do you want to change your habit(s) because you want to take better care of yourself, or because you think there is something wrong with you?, and congratulate yourself on what you did manage to change rather than judge yourself on what you didn’t.
- Accept that perfection does not exist. Humans are not robots and often there are many factors in place that are beyond our control, like a sick child or a sudden COVID-19 quarantine. When aiming to adopt a new habit, ‘good enough’ goes a long way and is far more likely to succeed than ‘perfect’.
- Look at ‘failure’ as a chance to reflect. Nelson Mandela was famous for saying “I never failed. I either succeeded or I learned something”. What can the inability to stick with a new behaviour teach you? Is it a chance to re-define your goal? Make it simpler or more practical? Recalibrate your expectations? Or get more support along the way? Whatever it may be, use the opportunity to learn and grow instead of declaring yourself a failure.