Building Anticipation for Habit Change

Many people, when they want to create a new habit, will want to start today. Or tomorrow.

Don’t give in to this urge.

Build anticipation.

Set a start date that’s ideally at least a week away from now. So if today is December 22, set your start date for January 1. If today is December 31, set the start date for January 7 or later — it’s OK if it doesn’t start on the first of the month.

And yes, it’s OK to start your first habit change any time of the year — not just on New Year.

Why it’s important

When you build anticipation, you send a message that this habit change is important. It’s serious, and you’re going to take it seriously. It’s not just something you wake up and do one day, like putting on an outfit. It’s a long-lasting change that’s going to have a serious impact on your life.

Take it seriously, and treat it with importance, by not starting right this moment. Start in a week (or more), and set a date.

How to build anticipation

Mark that start date on your calendar. You’ll find yourself looking forward to people.

Create a plan (more on that in another post). Write it down.

Tell people about it. Tell them how excited you are. Ask them for their support, their help keeping you on track, their encouragement. Ask them to check on you, daily, so you don’t fall off the wagon.

Plan out each step, each week, so you’ll know what’s coming up.

Get excited!