How to develop a useful new habit

Our brains are very clever – they like to try to save us time and effort by creating things called habits. A habit is something you do regularly without thinking about it – a bit like an aeroplane running on autopilot.

Some habits can be very useful, some can be bad. What bad habits do you have? Maybe it’s something like biting your nails, or leaving your homework till too late? Perhaps it’s letting your room get messy or eating too much unhealthy food?

It is possible to change bad habits, but it takes effort. The brain needs to do something around 21 times before it automatically turns it into a habit. Focusing on doing something differently for 21 times can be hard and we can often feel like giving up. It’s useful to have a plan…

Children's Magazines for 12 year olds

Think about a bad habit you would like to change. What would you rather do instead? For example, if your bad habit is letting your room get too messy, what would it be better for you to do? Perhaps putting your clothes away each evening before you go to bed?

Kids Magazines for girls and boys

Write “Put clothes away before bed” on a post-it note and stick it somewhere you will see it in your room.

UK Children's magazine

Then create a chart for 21 days (or a month if that’s easier). Once you have completed the new habit, you can cross off the day on the chart.

Magazines for 6 year olds

You will start to see all the times your room looks tidier and this will make you feel good. After doing this for 21 days you will find that your effort has helped you to form a new habit.

“Your habits will determine your future.” ~ Jack Canfield
Positive Habit Forming: Create a new habit chart for children