How to Create Lasting Habits: 3 Step Process for Success

There is a simple 3 step process that anyone can do when it comes to creating lasting habits.

You want to improve your life and wellbeing, so you commit to starting a new habit. Habits are the key to creating change after all.

Woman going for a morning walk outside

For the first few days, you rock your new practice, but then the kids need a snack, your boss sends over some last-minute work or the boiler breaks down – again.

Suddenly your new-found commitment disappears as life takes over. Back to the bottom of the list it goes! 

It’s a cycle I’m all too familiar with, which is why I set out to find the secret for creating habits that stick so that we can all live a life we love and get off of that ever spinning hamster wheel. 

As a mum of 3 and a solopreneur, I have a to-do list as long as my arm. Prioritising myself has become more and more difficult since having baby no.3 and over the past two years, I’ve felt myself slipping

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Sound Familiar?! 

I had enough a few months ago and decided to start putting what I needed first. After all, you can’t fill everyone else’s cup if yours is empty! 

I searched out as many personal development resources I could find; goal setting, time management, self-care until finally, I started reading a book called Habit Stacking, and everything clicked! 

Another highly recommended read on building habits and habit stacking is Atomic Habits by James Clear

If I wanted to see great change and improvement in every area of my life, I needed to start with the smallest aspects.

Every day from the moment you wake up, your life is full of habits

They are small daily routines you perform without even thinking about, but did you know these tiny actions can have a huge impact on your life? I sure didn’t! 

Thinking about it now, it seems so obvious! Every routine that we have in our day – morning, dinner, bedtime, self-care – are all a collection of habits stacked together. 

Habits are responsible for many automatic processes…

woman meditating
  • Cleaning our teeth
  • Changing our bedding
  • Downing that gallon of coffee to start our day (Are you in the coffee or tea club? I’m coffee through and through!)
  • Pulling out of the driveway
  • The way we wash our hair

The Science Behind Habits

The actual process of ‘a habit’ activates a part of the brain separate to decision making, meaning the brain literally goes into autopilot allowing you to focus your energy on more demanding tasks.

It’s the reason why you don’t think about the way you make your cup of coffee or the order you put your shoes on. 

Fun Fact! Did you know when on holiday/vacation, you are more likely to put your shoes on in a different order because you’ve broken your normal pattern of behaviour! 

It’s a no-brainer then that creating new positive ‘habit loops’ and breaking negative ones will improve your well being while also supporting your goals!

Believe it or not, creating habits makes life easier. The brain has to do less work by automating repetitive patterns in your life.

So creating habits you want to improve your life with will also mean you’ll have more time, more focus and less stress! YES!

How To Create New, Lasting Habits

How to create long lasting habits in 3 simple steps

The secret sauce for creating lasting habits is a pretty simple 3 step process.

  1. Triggers
  2. Routines
  3. Benefits

Habits Example:

Every day when I get up I make a cup of coffee and take my tablets.

Turning on the kettle is my trigger to open the cupboard, get my medication and take it – the routine. My health, in this scenario, is obviously the benefit

And trust me, this process didn’t happen overnight!

For a long while, I would forget to take my medication. I couldn’t find out why til I realised my medication was in my bedroom, the room I leave straight away when I wake up.

Nothing was triggering me to take my meds, so I wasn’t.

The habit wasn’t forming so there was no pattern for my brain to recognise! 

As soon as I moved that tiny box to the kitchen cupboard – boom! Daily medication ticked off my list! Sometimes, creating a habit is as simple as moving an item to a different room or location. 

And this can be applied to anything you want to create a habit – and any habits you already have! 

Why don’t you try it now

  • Pick something you do regularly.
  • See if you can identify what triggers you to perform the routine
  • Now think about the benefit you receive from doing this.

Some habits are easy to notice – hello teeth brushing! Others not so much.

However, once you know the system, you also know how to break those bad habits. 

Change the trigger or benefit and you’ll see those negative habits snap in no time!

Check out these 3 simple steps to creating good habits you can actually stick to! #habits #intentionalliving Share on X

Goal Setting & Creating Lasting Habits

The tricky part about making new positive habits stick is the effort and willpower it takes before your brain recognises the pattern and performs it automatically. 

Using your goals as anchor points for habits is one of my absolute top tips. 

By linking the desired habit to something you have already aligned your values with and want to achieve will make the smaller tasks easier to start, stick to and automate. 

It gives you your why more than ‘because I should’. 

Even though they are interlinked, planning and creating habits differ from goal setting.

When setting your goals, we start with the endpoint in mind – what do you want to achieve, how will you feel, how will it affect your life! 

When creating habits the process itself is the first step, then the outcome – the benefit – it will lead to. 

As I started getting serious about my website and purpose, I knew I needed to create a daily habit of writing. Trying to just fit it in haphazardly to my day was not working. 

Ok, I said. I will work on my blog after the kids have gone to bed. 

And it worked! Bedtime is the trigger for my brain to get in the zone. It’s when I’m most productive, articulate and focused. I make a coffee, sit down and work. 

This habit is now a cornerstone of so many of my goals as well. So one tiny change to my life is having exponential effects! 

Connecting Your Goals to Habits

What do you want to achieve? 

What small action could you automate to make this easier? 

Choose 5-10 healthy habits that could support your goals. Write them down! 

Here are Some New Habits To Try:

  • Drink more water
  • Take daily Supplements 
  • Practice morning yoga
  • Chose a healthy dessert 
  • Breath Deeply for 1-2 minutes
  • Stretch 
  • Write in a journal 
  • Meditate
  • Go to bed at the same time each night 
  • Rise early 
  • Switch to Do Not Disturb while working 
  • Invest 15 minutes a day in an idea

Related: 35 Healthy Habits To Improve Mental Health


What new habit would you like to start that you've been putting off? #goodhabits #habits #positivemindset Share on X

What New Habits Could You Start Right Now?

young woman stretching

Once you have a list of new habits to start that could be a benefit to your life, choose one to start right now

Tip: Don’t be afraid to create habits in stages.

If it’s not completely achievable straight away, stagger it and make it simpler. The key is to make a start while it’s fresh in your mind and focus.

Creating a New Habit: Example

I want to exercise daily, but I know that if I was to dive straight into 7 days doing an hour HIIT, by the end of the week, I’d probably be as able to exercise as an upside-down turtle! 

I’d most likely be making excuses to get myself out of it too! 

Instead, make it ridiculously easy to complete. Something so simple that you can’t possibly fail. 

My ridiculously easy to complete habit: Start a 7-day exercise habit doing 5 minutes of cardio every morning after I’ve had my coffee.

Simply the process of performing the same action, at the same time, in the same place will trigger your brain into recognising the pattern and eventually you’ll be doing it without even thinking.

This simple process ultimately creates habits for you. 

Prepare for Obstacles When Creating Habits

Have you noticed how much we dislike change? 

Any new process or routine that you try to implement will lead you to face some resistance and obstacles along the way. Being prepared for that is going to help you massively to overcome it. 

The key is recognising your commitment and honouring it

Be mindful of your thoughts, especially when your brain tries to tell you ‘not today’.

Remind yourself why you’re working to create lasting habits and stick with them. Acknowledge that voice in your head and tell them No! I am strong and capable. I will do this! 

If you’re a visual person, a great aid is a system called Don’t Break The Chain, coined by Jerry Seinfeld.

Every day that you perform your habit, put a big red X on a wall calendar. As the chain starts to form you’ll gain satisfaction and a drive to keep adding X’s to that chart! 

The calendar itself could also become your trigger. You walk into the room, see the calendar with all your lovely red X’s on and think Oh! I need to do that now!

 

Habit Stacking, For Success

Remember how I said that I take my tablets when I make my morning coffee? 

Coffee has become necessary for me (thank you, children)! It was a habit I was already performing every morning, without fail. 

The concept of habit stacking is to connect new habits to existing ones which become the trigger and remind us to do the new action. 

It works remarkably well and has been the single best process to solidify my tablet taking habit each day! 

What habit that you already perform, day in and day out, could you stack your new habit to? 

Remember not to overwhelm yourself as well.

Your brain is learning, recognising and storing the information you give it when you perform your new habits.

So start with 1 or 2 new habits from your list and when you’ve nailed them add in some more! 

How Long Does it Take To Form a New Habit?

Just remember that time is relative.

Heard that it takes 21 days to solidify a habit? Forget it.

The amount of time it takes to create lasting habits that become an automatic habit loop varies from person to person, habit to habit.

For some, it could be 14 days, for others as long as 60+ days. 

Ridding yourself of a false mindset, such as it takes 21 days to form a new habit will see you have more success because you’re not setting a subconscious ‘end date’ for your habit. 

Simply endeavour to practice it daily – remember your why!

I know I keep saying it, but knowing why you want your new habit to stick is the single biggest influencer to successfully creating habit loops. 

That’s The Secret Sauce for Creating Lasting Habits! How Easy is That? 

  1. Create a trigger
  2. Perform the action/behaviour/routine
  3. Reap the benefits.

Creating lasting habits that have a positive impact has been a life changer for me and hopefully, you’ll see some of the benefits I have too.

My new habits have helped me create my ideal morning routine, set goals I love working towards and better manage my time.

Speaking of which you can grab my FREE 3 day Productivity Powerhouse Challenge. Investing time in your personal development, creating habits to support your goals and wellbeing will have profound effects on your whole life! 

What new, positive habits will you be creating and committing to? 

Let me know in the comments!


About Sam: I’m a life coach and personal development blogger, guiding tenacious overloaded women into a life they love. I have a passion for helping women achieve their dreams and streamline their life, so they have more time to enjoy little and big pleasures.


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Yolanda xo

 


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About Yolanda

Website Owner / Content Creator

I’m passionate about helping you live life to the fullest so you can choose to find happiness and purpose. Learn how to CREATE THE LIFE YOU LOVE with intentional living and discovery of the simple things life has to offer. Learn more…


10 Comments

  1. This was a really thought-out post! I love the advice. I struggle with making some things habits because life gets so busy as you mentioned, but I am really going to make an effort this year.

  2. There are tons of articles and posts out on the internet about how to create habits, but this was a process I had never heard about. This is so unique, and I love it! I think establishing your trigger and benefit are the most important parts of this and then the routine kind of comes along with it, but this is awesome! Thank you for sharing!

    1. You are more than welcome and I’m glad it helped! You’re totally right habits and routines are linked!

      You can check out my free 3 day productivity challenge for more guidance on building habits, rocking routines and truly mastering your mindset here. http://www.hereimumagain.co.uk (Yolanda has linked it at the bottom of the post but there’s a letter missing! My bad:P )

  3. A very helpful article! Simplified into just three steps. Atomic Habits and Habit Stacking are our favorites too and has helped us work on many areas of everyday life.

    1. As with anything, when we first think about habits it can be overwhelming. But as you say, simplified to 3 core steps, it’s easy to see how we can build and change habits! They really are fantastic books. I also recommend 7 Habits of Highly Effective People – an oldie, but a goodie!

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