Making a Change
Why can change seem so hard? Changing a habit takes time because it’s a repeated behavior with little plan or thought. This can make it seem out of your control, but you do have the power to create new habits.
Every habit starts with a pattern—a “habit loop” made up of three parts: a trigger, a routine, and a reward. A trigger is a cue that tells your brain to do something. A routine is the behavior, and the reward is the benefit linked to the behavior.
You can change a habit by replacing the routine in the habit loop while keeping the same trigger and reward. For instance, go for a walk to feel relaxed when you feel stressed instead of smoking!
Know your “why” — finding motivation
Consider what matters most
Think about your motivation to change—your “why.” Whether it’s to be more organized, more energized, or to have more time for creativity, remind yourself of what matters to you most in life.
To start, ask yourself:
- What do I want to change?
- What are my most powerful reasons for wanting this change?
- What will my life look like after I’ve made this change?
Know your “what” — setting goals
Create a plan
Every journey begins with a single step! A long-term goal is something you want to accomplish but may take a while to achieve, such as losing weight or lowering your blood pressure. There are many small steps connected to reaching long-term goals. That’s where action plans come in. Use a Personal Action Plan to set your weekly plans. Make them small. Make them specific. Make them doable. For example, “I will go for a 15-minute walk after dinner 3 days this week.” When you reach your goal, reward yourself!
Know your “how” — using tools
Find what works for you
When making a change, think about what resources you may need and what works best for you. Here are some tools to get you started:
Learning About Changing a Habit by Setting Goals
Tips for a successful journey
Track your progress
Tracking is a proven predictor of success for making a change for life. It can help you stay motivated and focused on clear goals. Celebrate your progress over time by tracking on paper or with an app. Learn more about myStrength, a personalized program that can help you improve your awareness and change behaviors. Find what works for you!
Over time, you may experience burnout. Remember, perfection is not the goal. Little changes over time add up and help you reach your healthy habit goals.