5 Tips For Maintaining Good Habits Even After Ramadan
Psychologists agree that a person needs an estimated 21 days (up to three weeks) for a motion or activity to become a habit. But, it’s easy to slip up and find yourself giving up right after. Often times, we lose the drive to do good or continue forming our habits if our surrounding does not support the idea (how many of us have picked up exercise during the MCO only to drop it as soon as we moved onto the CMCO?) And whether you focused on kicking your caffeine habit or practising mindfulness in all aspects (i.e. social media consumption, your patience with others and yourself, and so on), it is easy to lose our way, no matter how good completing your period of mindfulness feels – because we’re not put in the same environment we were in before.
But, here are a few things you can do to maintain the good habits you picked up during Ramadan (and if you haven’t, don’t worry, start from here!):
Set Your Goals
Always start with a picture in your mind: what goals are you looking to achieve? Don’t put the pressure of “a new year new me” on yourself, instead, imagine how much progress you’d want to see yourself making after a set period of time. Look back at your Ramadan and make a list of things that you did that you are proud of, that you didn’t think you could do before but managed to do during Ramadan. Did your relationship with your family and friends change for the better? Did you spend more time with yourself? Did you eat healthier? Aim to continue keeping up with your top 3 out of that list.
Important: Do it because you want to, for your betterment, not because you want to impress other people.
Don’t Let One Mistake Be Your Downfall
Missing out on a day or two does not mean your whole plan or goal has been derailed. Remember, we’re only human and that means that we’re bound to stumble. What makes us strong is our ability to get back up and continue working for what we want. Forgive yourself for falling behind but don’t forget to remind yourself of your intentions. When you find that you’ve lost your way, the easiest way to get back on track is to remember why you started in the first place.
Think, Reflect and Improve
Depending on how comfortable you are with self-evaluation, you might want to do this daily or weekly (monthly might not be a good idea because you’d have formed different habits that might not be as good). It is important to remember that you’re meant to “evaluate” not criticise. Being overly critical with yourself will lead you to give up – you’re your own biggest supporter and biggest critique. When it comes to self-evaluation, be constructive with yourself. Plot out what you’ve done well, what you failed to do and what you can do to improve. If it suits you better, find a template you can use in your evaluation – whether it’s a scale of 1 – 10, a short answer question that you’ve got to fill in – find what works for you to keep you on track towards your bigger picture.
Your habits are your own to form. If you don’t put in the effort, you won’t reap the rewards. All of the above-mentioned steps will keep you on track for as long as you allow yourself to follow them. After all, you can train yourself to build a habit but it’s easy for you to lose the habit in an instant. And after all that effort, do you really want to give up half way? Don’t allow yourself to regret anything in life.
Lean On Those Around You
Well, not physically (because, social distancing) but we’re more likely to keep going when we have other people supporting us (if you’ve been to a Zoom exercise class you’ll know what I mean) So go ahead and bring your friends and family in on your plan. Let’s be honest, it’s always so much more fun to do things with the people we love. Make sure to reach out to the people you know will be able to encourage you and support you through it. The more the merrier – when one person is down, the others can bring them up. What are friends and family for after all?
At the end of the day, the reward for all your effort and patience is the better life that you are building for yourself. Don’t compare yourself to others and do what’s best for yourself. If you have your own tips that you’ve built up over Ramadan, share them with us and we can all work towards breaking our bad habits and forming good ones!
*Cover image credit: Photo by Ross Findon on Unsplash