How To Get Back Into A Habit

Read how to get back into a habit and how to stop feeling guilty that it didn't work out on your first (or twentieth) attempt.

So I’m guessing it’s not news to you that the habit fairy isn’t going to come and wave her magic wand just because you’ve been doing something for 21 days.

It’s actuallyΒ hard to get into a good habit and it usually takes me a good three or four (or five or six) attempts to finally get there.

One of the hardest things about habits isn’t actually sticking to them – that’s easy enough once you figure out the right way to approach it.

The hardest part is giving them another shot when it didn’t work out the first, second or twenty-second time you tried them.

Getting back into a habit

It’s ignoring that voice in the back of your head telling you that you ‘weren’t good enough’ or ‘not disciplined enough’ to stick with it. It’s ignoring the family and friends that scoff and roll their eyes when you tell them you’re giving it another shot.

I think it’s pretty rare that the first time you try out a habit it’s going to be the right approach for you.

The first time we try a habit we’re usually trying to emulate something we’ve seen our friends doing or something we’ve seen on Instagram or read in a magazine. But it’s pretty uncommon that what works for them is going to be exactly the same as what works for you.

Trying things out

I think a lot of the time a habit doesn’t stick isn’t because we have no discipline – it’s because we’re not trying it the right way.

This is good news. It means that just because you ‘failed’ to stick to your new habit the first time doesn’t mean you can’t stick to it in the future.

But there is a little bad news.

Before you give that habit another shot you have to stop feeling guilty that your last attempt didn’t work out.

My story

From November last year to April this year I wrote in my gratitude journal every single day. I loved doing it and it could really see and feel the benefits of it in my life.

But one day in April something came up and I didn’t write in it. And then it became two days and three days and then BOOM – it’s June and I haven’t written in my gratitude journal for months.

I really want to get back into the habit of writing in my gratitude journal but I have found the biggest thing stopping me is the guilt. Those blank pages staring back at me, reminding me that I didn’t stick with it the first time.

But I’m going to try again.

What do you think?

What habit have you been wanting to try again? What has been stopping you from giving it another shot?

Don’t forget that comments are always appreciated – I’d LOVE to hear from you!

Sam xx

Author: Sam Brown

  • The guilt is definitely tough. I’m trying hard to get ahead on course work and on the days that I do nothing, I feel ashamed and don’t want to face the ‘build up’ – even though I don’t have to do any of this! even though none of this is build up!

    • Hey,

      I can totally relate! My exams start next week and having to face the ‘build up’ from the semester is a huge struggle but you’re so right – education is a privilege and studying is a choice we have both made! Thanks for sharing such a great reminder!

      Sam xx

  • Working out is definitely a challenge. I’m the same with you – I skip one day then one day turns into a week. The way my body feels is definitely motivation. I’m sluggish and tired when I don’t work out. I used to feel guilty about it. I used to feel guilty about eating junk food. But I think who and what we surround ourselves with affect our habit and our feelings about it. Since living with my BF, I’ve become more like him and take setback in stride, treating a new day as a new chance.

    It also helps that he works out regularly so I’m almost kind of forced to keep working out, too!

    • Hi Alex,

      Thanks so much for your comment! I’m totally the same – my boyfriend is really into fitness so having him in my life has definitely been a huge factor in creating healthy habits for me! I totally agree that who and what we surround ourselves with affects our habits and feelings about it!

      ‘Treating a new day as a new chance’ is the best advice! I forget to do that way too often!

      Thanks for sharing your experience Alex πŸ™‚

      Sam xx

  • I just read an interesting psychology study on creating habits and it said that the two hardest habits to get into your daily routine are to quit smoking and to change your diet.
    It also noted that it helps to keep a diary with short term goals (which is why I also keep a ‘workout diary’) It helps me to note what you accomplished and to notice the changes.
    The only thing I am fed up once in a while with is running early in the morning.
    I really love doing that on a sunny day, but let me wake up to a grey sky and my motivation is down to zero. I do a workout instead, but still. I want to be motivated to run even on grey or rainy days … it’s on my list πŸ˜€

    • Hi Isa,

      Thanks so much for sharing – keeping track of short-term goals is such great advice!

      I have found that the most effective way (for me at least) is to keep track of how I feel about things rather than just focusing on recording the ‘results’ (like I used to). There’s always that period where you’re not going to have motivation and you’re not going to have results yet so I find that noting that I didn’t feel like going to the gym before I went but was glad that I did is a really good way to help me stay on track!

      I’ve had the same trouble with running in the morning (especially when bed is so cozy) I found the best way to get out the door on those dreary days was to tell myself that I only had to walk and that if I still wanted to be in bed 10 minutes later then I could just turn around and go home. That was usually enough to get me out the door (and I always ended up running for more than 10 minutes)

      Sam xx

  • I can definitely relate to this. Guilt has been one of my most challenging emotions. Over time, I realized that guilt wasn’t a productive emotion. It just made me feel worse about myself and prevented me from accomplishing what I wanted to. It’s a difficult thing to just let go of it, but I kept working on ignoring that voice that said I was bad or lazy or not good enough and just got back on the horse time after time. The more I worked on not feeling guilty, the more that voice went away πŸ™‚

    • Hey Alex,

      I LOVE your comment! It’s so true that guilt isn’t a productive emotion and yet many of us try to use it as a way to ‘motivate’ ourselves (I think a lot of ‘fitspo’ stuff is more like ‘guiltspo’ haha). I think it’s a lot more productive to focus on what we already have instead of trying to motivate ourselves with that feeling of lack.

      Thanks (as always!) for sharing your experience!

      Sam xx

  • Just found your blog and I have to say that it’s one of those ones that I know instantly I will love and check in with constantly! Always striving to make the best out of life!

    I’ve been trying to get back to my journal too. For years through college I wrote a few times a week and the last while it’s been a few times a YEAR! I agree, the guilt can really make you put off trying again.

    • Hi Jenna,

      Thank you SO much for your lovely words about my blog! I’m so happy to hear that it resonates with you πŸ™‚

      I hope we will both get into our old habits of regularly writing in a journal – I found it so cathartic and I’m not really sure exactly why I stopped, all I know is that I need to start doing it again! All the best!

      Sam xx

  • This is a great post, I should get into the habit of doing more exercise, drink more water, eat less chocolate.. I could go on

    • Hi Emma,

      Thanks so much for sharing your struggles (I can relate to all of them!) And if you’re like me you probably want to do a habit perfectly instead of just doing it as well as you can. If that’s the case I really encourage you to just get started – even if it means only exercising two times a week if you want to exercise 4 times!

      Sam xx

  • I am so glad to have come across your blog today! I actually googled “how to introduce good habits” and variations of this last week with no prevail and then I find your blog and this post!

    I am completely on the same boat with trying after failing more than once. I want to get into a good morning routine where I can get up early, meditate and exercise before breakfast. As soon as I miss a day it turns into a week!

    Thanks for sharing,


    • Hey Essjay,

      Thanks so much for your comment! I’m so happy to hear you enjoy reading my blog πŸ™‚

      I think wanting to do things perfectly and have that ‘perfect week’ throws so many of us off track! I try to remember that every time I do something it’s a step forward, not just every time I have a ‘perfect’ week (which is rarely if I’m honest haha)

      Sam xx

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