So, you’ve been working really hard on keeping up some of the good habit goals you’ve set for yourself. You’ve been self-aware, questioned yourself, planned for pitfalls, tracked your progress and so on. You’ve done everything right. You probably feel like you’d never go back to your old ways or bad habits because you’ve come so far. To an extent that’s true, we are more likely to stick with a new habit if it’s been used for longer than 4 months. Unfortunately, our old habits are still ingrained in us too. Slipping back to your old behaviors could happen before you even realize it. There are a few things you can do to help prevent this from happening.
One way is to use micro goals or cut offs. Micro goals can be used to help keep you from falling back into your old habits. An example of this is; your goal was to get healthy and lose a certain number of pounds. You’ve worked hard and achieved your goal, so now your goal is maintain it. Sometimes there’s a slip up or two per week with healthy food choices, and as we know, weight can fluctuate slightly week to week. So, a micro goal you could use to keep you from falling all the way back to where you were before you started could be something to the effect of, “If I get up to this weight, I will start working out at the gym for 20 minutes longer per workout.”
You essentially give yourself a cut off to keep you on track so that you don’t slip back into a bad habit. Being aware of your mindset is an important way to keep from slipping also. Notice subtle behaviors you may be doing that indicate you are falling off track. Such as, having just one drink here and there, instead of not drinking at all if that was your goal. Or, starting to buy certain foods again that you swore off in an effort to lose weight. Keep a close eye out for permission-giving thoughts like, “It’s just this one time” or “I’ll get back to it next week, I’m tired, I need a break.” These thinking patterns are gateway thoughts that lead back to old or bad habits. Be mindful of enablers. People who don’t help you stay on track; rather they almost pressure you to slip backwards again. All of these things can help stop you from slipping back into your old ways. Don’t give up; keep striving for the betterment of your life through good habits.