If you’re looking to create a new habit or change a habit, then we have a free, downloadable PDF template just for you.
Changing an existing habit or creating a new habit can be challenging. You have to change your behavior and mindset at the same time and then consistently stick to your new routine.
We’ve all tried before to change a negative habit and failed.
Perhaps each New Year’s day you promise to do more exercise, save money, drink more water or get a new qualification.
And, for whatever reason, it doesn’t happen.
Well, this downloadable worksheet should help you change that.
Create a New Habit and Change Your Life
This “Create a New Habit” worksheet will take you through the steps to change or start a new habit.
This is great for people who want to:
- Stop smoking
- Lose weight
- Start exercising
- … or make any kind of change that requires a new habit or routine
You’ll find the download link at the bottom of the page but first explore how best to use the worksheet.
We’ll go through each part of the printable worksheet and explain how to fill all the fields.
You’ll have a new habit in no time at all.
The Awesome Habit I Want to Create
You need to be specific about your new habit.
Don’t write “I want to exercise every day”. This is not specific enough. You need to know exactly what exercise you’re going to do, where, when and for what duration.
So, a new exercise habit could be phrased as “I swim 20 lengths of my local pool 3 times per week”.
With this description, you know exactly what you’re doing and whether you have achieved it each week.
TIP: Write your habit in the present tense as though it is something you are already doing. This helps tells your subconscious this habit is something you have NOW. If phrase your new habit as “I want to swim …” or “I will swim … ” you are telling your subconscious mind your habit is in the future and yet to be achieved.
Why I Want this Habit
The more reasons you have to change a habit the more likely you are going to be successful in making the change stick.
This is known as having a powerful “Why”.
For instance, why do you want your new goal of “I swim 20 lengths of my local pool 3 times per week”? Your “Why” may be to get in shape for a vacation so you look your best on the beach. Alternatively, you may want improved fitness so you can spend more time playing soccer with your children.
Whatever the reason(s) you choose, you want reasons that are powerful enough to keep you turning up each time you go for a swim.
Obstacles I Might Face
No matter how optimistic you are, “Life” is quite likely to get in the way.
“Life” comes in many forms such as new activities to do, friends calling on your time, you’re too tired after work or any number of things that can derail your best intentions.
So, before these obstacles arrive, prepare yourself to think about what they are and how you can overcome them.
In the case of our new swimming regime, one of the obstacles could be “I have to work late and miss a swimming session”. You can overcome this by having alternative swim times as well as the 3 regular times you set up.
Your regular times to swim could be Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 7pm. You could also set Tuesday 7pm and Sunday 4pm as options, just in case you had to miss a regular session.
By planning this in advance, you already know what you’re going to do if you have to miss a regular session. If you leave the arrangements to the last minute, you may be tempted to miss a swim session one week. This in turn can lead to missing other sessions in the future.
So, plan ahead and don’t let life get in the way!
Steps I’ll Take to Create my New Habit
You may have to complete some tasks before you start your new habit.
In our case, we may have to become a member of our local community swimming pool. We may even have to by a swimsuit and goggles.
Whatever it is, make a note of what you need to do to be ready for day 1 of your habit changing regime.
Some people never change a habit (not you of course!) because they never get to the start line. These people have still not got around to joining the gym, let alone started their new exercise habit.
You need to take this seriously and make sure you’re ready to start changing a habit.
People to Help Me
You don’t have to do this alone.
One of the best ways of involving others is to have a friend, co-worker or family member be your accountability partner.
This person is there to support you and cheer you on. They want the best for you.
However, your accountability partner also needs to be tough enough to make sure you keep your promises with your new habit. They are there to make you accountable because it’s in your own interest to do so.
What can work really will if two people are accountability partners for each other. This is a very positive situation where you encourage each other and you don’t want to let each other down.
You don’t have to be changing the same habit. One of you could be swimming 3 times a week, the other is giving up smoking.
You don’t have to do this on your own!
Tools to Help Me
This is an optional planning step.
You may have everything you need after completing the “Steps I’ll Take to Create my New Habit” section.
However, there may be a need for some extra equipment. In our example we may want a water-proof stopwatch to time our swims. A stopwatch is nice to have but not something that would hold us back from swimming right away.
By making a note of the tools you need, you can be aware of any extra equipment costs you may have to make.
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Describe How Having this Habit Makes You Feel
Write down the emotions you expect to feel when you make this habit a part of your daily life.
Recognize the positive impact this new habit will have on your life.
Taking our example, you may feel increased confidence from swimming 3 times every week. The confidence could arise from sticking to your new routine and from your improved health.
Thinking about these feelings before your start your new habit gives you extra encouragement to stay the course.
Affirmations are positive phrases you say each day to develop new beliefs, attitudes and behaviors in your life.
You can use these positive phrases to train your subconscious mind to associate positive thoughts with your new habit.
You can use the emotions and feelings described in the previous section to help you create your affirmations.
We have the following articles to help you learn more about affirmations.
As for our swimming example, we could choose affirmations such as:
- I am energized by my regular swimming routine
- I enjoy excellent health due to my commitment to swimming
- I am confident in my ability to start and keep new habits
Affirmations are very personal phrases so create some that inspire and speak to you.
Say these phrases each day to further reinforce the benefits of your new habit.
Give yourself a pat on the back for when you complete your first seven weeks of your new habit.
Write down a simple celebration to acknowledge the work and effort you put into your new habit.
This is something to look forward to at the end of your first 7 weeks.
49 Day / 7 week Habit Tracker
How long does it take to make a new habit stick?
I was always told 21 days. Do something every day for 3 weeks and it becomes a habit. Personal experience tells me this is not the case and we can’t say that a specific time frame, such as 21 days, applies to everyone.
Which is why we give you a 49 day / 7 week habit tracker. If you can stick at it for 7 weeks you should be well on the way to thinking of this habit as part of you rather than an extra or new thing to do.
If you need longer, print off another sheet and do your habit tracking for another 7 weeks. Repeat for as long as you need.