One thing I like to say to friends who stumble in their habit changes is “Life gets in the way.”
And it undoubtedly does. Emergencies come up, work gets crazy and hectic, vacations happen, routines change, priorities change. Habits become less of a priority when many of these things happen, and often it’s enough of a change in priority for the habit to die altogether.
But don’t let that happen without a fight.
Make your habit change a top priority in your life, or it will likely fail.
If you want to make exercise a new habit, for example, but you let other priorities push the exercise back and back until you just decide not to do it for today, you’re going to fail.
If instead, you do the exercise first, because it’s important to you, and let the other stuff (including work) come after the exercise, then you’ll likely succeed.
This is one of the reasons it’s important to do just one habit change at a time — you can’t have very many priorities in your life. It just doesn’t work that way. At any given time, only one or two things is really important to you.
If you want the habit to stick, the change to actually last, you’ll need to make the habit change one of those really important things. That means, every day, you wake up thinking about how you’re going to make it work today. It means every day, you really want to not only get it done, but to log it and let others know how you succeeded.
Every day, your habit change needs to be the top thing you do. When you go on vacation, it should still be your priority. When your work gets intense, it can’t fall by the wayside, but you need to figure out how you’re going to make the work fit in around the habit. When your routine changes, you need to figure out how the routine will work around the habit.
Don’t let the habit be a lower priority.