EP 34: Four ways to create habits that stick

January 11, 2024


Forget about those resolutions you’re making for 2024 and instead create habits that stick.

If you want to create real change in your life and get different results this year, then you need to learn how to create habits that positively impact who you are, what you do and how you behave.

Habits that stick can be life-changing so in this episode you will learn:

  • The concept of habits and their potential to transform your life.
  • Four ways to stay motivated and make your habits stick.
  • Three tips for restructuring your environment to support your habits.
  • The significance of celebrating your wins and building a sense of belief.
  • Planning ahead for obstacles and maintaining your habits even during interruptions.
  • How to evaluate and adjust your habits as you progress.

Full episode shownotes

All right. People, I’ve got my Bulletproof coffee. I have done my movement and workout for this morning. And yes, I am here to talk to you about habits.

Habits that stick for 2024 that could potentially change your life.

What are habits? How long do you need to do them for before they start becoming automated? And why the heck do you want more of them?

Welcome to the life pilot podcast. I’m your host, Natalie Sisson. And my mission is to help you design and live the lifestyle of your dreams by giving you the clarity, confidence, tools, and methods to make this a reality, every single freaking day.

That sounds good to you. You’re in the right place. Okay, before I start, just know that you can access any of the previous episodes for this podcast@livepilot.co forward slash podcast.

And I actually do provide full show notes for every single episode links that I may talk about during an episode. Any cool stuff that’s going to help you out. So do head there. I also have some beautiful free resources@lifepilot.co, including the perfect day exercise.

The one page miracle business plan, and soon to be a pretty amazing life audit. So again, you can head across to life pilot.co forward slash resources to get those free templates.

And there will be more coming because basically. As I just said, I want to give you those tools so that you can start designing your ideal lifestyle. And as we are in a new year, 2024, I had a little bit of a, I don’t know, a little bit of a pep talk on Instagram stories yesterday. You can follow me at Natalie Sisson.

I’m doing more life and business coaching on there this year. I’m trying to be way more strategic to provide a ton of value to you because I’m frankly tired of people not focusing on what matters to them and not prioritizing what makes them feel good? What makes their life amazing and how they can show up as the best possible version of them.

Because when you do that, everybody wins. Every body wins. This is not just a new year. I’m fresh and high on energy, et cetera. I have been. I feel I’ve been preaching this to myself most importantly, because I got to do the work to. For most of my life.

And then I’ve just along the way, managed to hopefully inspire support and help thousands of people take action to do this through my three best-selling books, through my podcast, through my videos, through my work, through my courses, through my products, through my speaking, through my coaching.

All those good things and. Post having a gorgeous baby who has now a two and a half year old. Amazing toddler not going to lie.

He is amazing. I am like ready to continue to embrace this path and this journey of being a leading learner there for you on how to design your best possible life. And this year in particular, I’m really focused myself on. Amazing learning.

So not just like learning for the sake of learning, but learning, implementing action, taking and actually making true change. Longevity because let’s face it. I’m getting older and I want to feel healthier and younger every single day.

And I also want to be able to outrun outdo everything that my son does for as long as possible. And so I’m just getting a little bit obsessed about longevity, which leads me into this beautiful habit discussion today.

Four ways to create habits that stick in 2024

So habits. This beautiful thing that you can start at any time. Stick with and completely transform your life with if you are willing to do it. And if you have not yet read what I would say is probably one of the most definitive books on habits, then I highly recommend you check out atomic habits by. James clear who I’ve actually met and as just one of those people, who’s, he’s a super serious dude, but he’s really lovely.

But he has just done so much research around habits and in particular, atomic habits means tiny little ones that all start to have a ripple effect in your life.


The myth of the 21-day Habit

So first off there’s been a lot of research done around how long do you actually need to build a habit for become before it becomes automatic for you. If you think about if you drive cars, it surprises me now when I get in the car, not always, but sometimes I’m just like, wow. Every single thing I do in this car. Is automatic. I’ve been doing it for so long since I was 15 years old. I don’t think about turning on indicators.

I don’t think about checking my rear view mirror, my side mirror, always checking that I’ve got the right distance when I’m on the motorway with other cars, always being aware of cars coming out of every single corner. Being prepared for the worst case scenario. You know how to take corners nicely.

Like I’m just an automatic mode as a driver. And especially back in the day when you used to have a clutch in gears and you drive a manual car, all of that was really hard to learn at the time. And now it’s just absolutely a part of it’s like a S. It’s part of my body. It’s like my limbs, it just goes on autopilot.

So that is ultimately where we’d love to have habits get to being automatic. And a lot of scientific research has attempted to measure how long does this take? Because it used to be that, okay, maybe you can do it in 21 days. And then there was another piece of research that came out at the same. Actually it’s more like 66.

So just over two months. And then a 2012 review looked at. Other estimates and said it would actually make sense to tell people, to expect at least 10 weeks for a new habit to become automatic. Anyway, the point is there’s long ranging forecast from. 21 days right through to eight or nine months.

And I guess this means that. If you want to make something stick you’ve really just got a stick at it and give yourself time. And in the initial habit, forming period, whether you want to think of it as 21 days or 66 days.

It’s what behaviour change psychologists call the action stage. So you’ve begun the habit, but it’s not automatic yet. You might think that it is like maybe you’ve got up and gone for a. A walk. Every single day in a row for the last two months.

#1. Remind yourself of your motivation to do your habit

Amazing. But how do you make it stick and automatic? First of all, here’s some tips for you. And big, thanks to life hacker by the way. Cause I’ve been reading quite a few of their fantastic articles.

And they suggest that you want to remind yourself of your motivation to do it. And so does James clear, so a habit will not stick unless you’re motivated by it. This is why. If you want to, for example, lose weight in the new year, it’s far better to focus on how you want to feel.

I want to be a slim, strong, healthy person versus. I don’t want to lose 10 pounds or whatever it is. So it’s all about the feeling and the motivation of how amazing you’re going to feel when you’re lighter, how your joints are gonna feel when there’s less weight on them, how strong you’re gonna feel, how much more energy you’re going to have, how much more vibrant you’re going to look, how much those clothes are going to look fantastic on you. That is the motivation for you to stick with something.

Cause if it’s just like ‘oh my god I need to lose weight’ there’s no why behind that? Why do you need to lose weight? You got to have all the benefits, and it’s really important to stick. Those reminders. Around you on the bathroom mirror and your wardrobe as you’re going to get dressed so that you you’re constantly seeing it and going, oh yeah.

That’s the reason why, because I want to feel like a million dollars and look like a million dollars. So first off is reminding yourself of your motivation to do it. And hopefully you, when you set a new habit, you actually write down all the motivating factors of what you want to do how you want to feel and who you want to become as a result of this habit.

#2. Restructure your environment to give you cues and support.

You also want to restructure your environment to give you cues and support. So you’ve probably heard the likes of Tony Robbins and many other people who are in the personal development world say, if you want to become somebody who exercises every day, put your shoes out by your bed the night before and your exercise clothes so that when you wake up, you literally are putting your feet into the shoes, putting those clothes on.

You don’t have to think about it. You get up, groggily slowly, whatever it may be. And you just go out and you start and you walk or you run, or you do whatever you’re going to do. So that is having cues around you.

And making them so easy for you to just be able to do if you really want to take care of your teeth this year, Then you have a little sticker on your mirror, in the bathroom to floss regularly and not just, Hey Nat don’t forget to floss, but don’t forget to floss so that your teeth and gums are incredibly healthy and you never need to visit the dentist.

#3. Celebrate your wins

Okay. The third one is to celebrate your wins so that you actually start to build a sense of belief.

This is why James clear has created, a lovely journal with a habit tracker in it, but you don’t necessarily need that. You can literally have a grid piece of paper and put the things that you want to do every single day and then just tick them off. And it’s really cool to see these ticks..

So I have bought myself a journal for the year it’s called future useful. I just grabbed it in the store. I really liked that within it. It had. The days of the week, it had a mark, my word section, it had a important things to do rather than just to-do list, like important things to do.

And then it had a habit tracker, but down the bottom where you could just write in what you were wanting to track this week, and then whether you hit it Monday through to Sunday.

So this week, I have put, I want to walk. I want to do yoga and I want to do strength training and want to do meditation, not every single day, by the way, but that’s my routine that I am in that ritual that I am really starting to put into place and have been for a good couple of weeks, actually.

I’ve always had the habit of doing movement first thing in the morning, even if it’s five minutes with Leo, because he’s gotten up at the same time as me. I always make that a habit and what I am doing is adding on and habit stacking so that okay I get up and I do movement, so it might be yoga.

And immediately after that, I do breath work and then into a meditation, et cetera. So it’s really important to celebrate those wins. So seeing the little ticks. If you miss a date, that’s cool. Just get straight back on it. And it really starts to make you feel that, oh my God, I’m getting some momentum here.

I’m actually having some wins. So then that makes you more motivated to keep doing it. And it also means.

#4. Plan ahead so you can maintain your habit

Working towards milestone. So each morning you may go out and you may do a walk and maybe each day. You extend it by a couple of hundred meters. So initially maybe you’re just starting. One K walk, but in several months time, you might be up to three or four Ks, and it’s just those little incremental wins.

Might be that you wanting to read books more often. This is one of the biggest habits that I feel like. I’m in the process of putting into place. And I laugh when I hear myself and friends go, oh, I wish I could make more time for books.

Like the time just doesn’t get made, you’ve got to make it and you can squeeze it in. And it is the habit of reading each day that is going to make you read more books and get more enjoyment from books.

So every night since I have started my head at which started about three weeks ago of putting my phone on charge in the kitchen at 8:00 PM. And not picking it up again until after 8:00 AM, after my movement, after my exercise, it has been a game changer because what do I reach for my book?

So currently reading Chill and Prosper by Denise Duffield-Thomas, which is really awesome, even more awesome. When you realize your your testimonial is at the front and that she’s quoted you in the book, like I’m one of those people, you know how people quote like Oprah or Deepak and yeah, she actually quoted me in her book and it wasn’t until I was reading it the other day and I was like, huh, That’s awesome.

So that was a beautiful surprise. But my point being is that every single night I’ve been reading that book and I’ve only got like 20 pages left to go. And then I’m going to start on diary of a CEO. And this is just so beautiful because. It doesn’t even matter if I read two pages and I’m still reading and actually what ends up happening is even if I say, look, I’m just going to read one page.

I ended up reading five or 10 or 15. And I’m loving it and it’s such a beautiful time. So the point is I know people who are absolute avid readers and they will have a little Kindle with them or a paperback. And they will just read at every single opportunity. There are many times when we are sitting somewhere or we’re waiting for something waiting in a queue and I’ve seen people just. Just read books in those little moments.

So it’s all about becoming a person who reads books. That is the habit that you’re wanting to. Who are you becoming and building this habit? And the final tip. Is to plan ahead for how you’ll maintain it, even when you’re interrupted. And that’s a huge thing because when I was the suitcase entrepreneur, Traveling the world living out of a suitcase.

It was very easy for me to say, oh, because I live out of a suitcase and I never have access to a gym or a regular workout space. I don’t need to exercise, but I would exercise in the smallest little skinny places in hotel rooms or wherever I staying. I often had just nothing more, but I could do yoga.

I could do squats. I could do pushups. I could do. A little five minute workout. Even if I was catching a 6:00 AM flight and I had to be at the airport at 4:00 AM. I could still. Still make time for five minutes of movement in the morning. If I was prepared and organized the night before. So it’s a habit. Who are you becoming with that habit?

And. And why is it motivating you? And what do you want to get out of it?

There are also people who have really bad habits. Like I’m going to game every single night. I’m going to have three cups of coffee before I do anything, I’m always going to go in the drive by the McDonald’s every single day. Like these are habits that are not serving you. All right. So those are four things that can help you to make a habit stick. And then how do you sustain it? After. Those initial 21 days or 66 days.


How to keep going beyond the first 21 days

Now you’re out of the action state now, and you’re going into the maintenance stage, which is when you’re doing the habit and it’s starting to feel automatic, or at least it’s more a part of your life. And it used to be. And. And now you get to do things like reevaluate. Reevaluate your plan.

 1. Reevaluate your plan

So is that morning walk still working for you? I do hope so, but maybe it makes sense to do it. In the afternoon and do it with a friend so that you can walk and talk and go for even longer and also get a great conversation out of it. Or potentially if you don’t want to do yoga first thing in the morning, maybe that becomes a nighttime routine for you.

I know a lot of people who really love. To do yoga and just stretch before bed. It’s a brilliant habit to form. And maybe it’s strength training. Doesn’t work for you straight in the morning because you want to write instead, like maybe you want to become a writer. So that’s your time for that? Again, you could put that strength training into over a lunch break or before you start into your afternoon session.

So you feel revived and energized.

I know I’m talking a lot about fitness habits here, but that’s because honestly, not just because I’m obsessed with how to get super optimal health is here in longevity, but I know when I prioritize my health and wellness, everything else benefits. And these are typically the habits that serve us best. Whether it’s drinking more water, having more electrolytes, eating more vegetables, intermittent fasting, all these things.

2. Think ahead on obstacles

So the second thing you can think about is to think ahead on obstacles. You’re going to face.

So if you’re going to go on vacation, how are you going to keep up with that habit? You don’t really want to fall off the wagon with a habit because it makes it pretty difficult. And an example of that is Josh and I have been getting into intermittent fasting. Over the last four months. And I’m really unsure why I haven’t tested it or done it before, because it is absolutely. Fricking brilliant.

And it’s really working for me and also simplifies life. You just don’t have to think about as many meals, when you’re going to start eating and what’s good to break your fast with, and I’ll be doing more episodes on this in the future, but the point is over the Christmas break. We didn’t really have the same sort of rhythm or more structure we did a little bit of it, but we weren’t We weren’t consistent with it.

And so it’s really nice on the eighth of Jan, we started back into being consistent and we kicked off with our 24 hour fast, which happens on a Monday. And then we go into four days of a 17 hour fast when you’re in autophagy and in the weekend is just normal eating. A 12 hour fast, which pretty much anybody can do. From when you last ate to when you wake up.

So the beautiful thing about it is that is a habit that was pretty easy for us to pick back up on. We’ve already done the research. I’ve certainly done the research. I read about it all the time. I listened to Dr. Mindy Pelz’s. podcast, The Resetter Podcast. I’m constantly reading up on more things to understand even better, how transformative, intimate and fasting is, and just, we keep tweaking and working out what works well for us. So that was a habit that we, broke or weren’t consistent with, but it was easier to pick up because we’d already started on it.

So building a habit is really not a matter of a magic number of days, it’s a process that takes effort the whole time, even when you’re five years in.

Habits are work and I think that’s why so many people don’t have many good ones, but the ones that last are the ones where the work feels worthwhile. So I would suggest not trying to take on too many habits and this new year one, one has a really good start.

And then two to three months in, you can go. Cool. I’m going to stack this habit with another one. And typically when you’re habit stacking, what you are doing is adding on something that feels really good after that one. So potentially let’s say you wake up in the morning and you do your strength workout. After that, you could add on a cold shower.

If you’re going down this whole route. Good things to do for your body in the morning. Okay. Maybe let’s say you wanting to establish your writing habit. So immediately after writing for what, maybe you’re going to do two Pomodoro sessions. So 15 minutes to an hour of writing. Immediately after that you want to celebrate the small wins.

So you may go grab a cup of coffee. You may Allow yourself to watch five minutes of a fun comedy, for example, or listen to some beautiful music and dance around, and then you immediately go into the next habit. That makes sense for that. And this is an Atomic Habits. Once again, James clear really talks about celebrating that habit and then stacking another one on.

So you get. The effort of doing the habit and the benefit of it, then you get a little pleasure, dopamine hit by allowing yourself to do something you really absolutely love. And then you follow it with another habit. And what happens is it, your brain starts to associate both of those habits with the pleasurable, bit that you’re giving it in between.

And eventually you can even drop that because it just becomes more of a pleasure to have those habits and complimentary habits work really well. So if I was establishing. I writing habit again this year, which I am. Immediately after doing the I’d probably dance around for a bit. And then I would take what I’d written and maybe I’d put it into some short form content so that I know that I’m not just writing that content I’m then. Repurposing it and using it again.

So that would be my next habit would be to how many social posts can I create out of this? Or where am I actually going to share? This repurposed content broken down for different formats and platforms. So that’s an example of one habit leading into another habit. I hope that’s been helpful and I’m really looking forward to hearing what your one. Habit is that you want to form this year and actually keep.

As you can hear from me, I am really making intermittent fasting A habit. I am also stacking my morning ritual and I’m working towards what my ideal one is for me, based off the fact that there’s several mornings where I. I’m getting Leo up and off to daycare and spending time with them.

So my needs to be flexible and workable around a different routine during the week. But because I know what that routine and schedule is, I can make it fit them.


3. Establish more of a content creation habit

And then the third is establishing more of a content creation habit, which I used to be amazing at, and I’m already starting to see benefits from turning up, being more strategic planning and really being intentional about my content.

So we’d love for you to come across and join me at @nataliesisson on Instagram. And that’s where most of it is happening. And in a few months, time or YouTube again, and of course my podcast.

So I’m excited about those main three habits for me this year and what they’re going to produce and who I’m going to become. As a result of it.

And I would be remiss not to let you go without saying, if you want to develop more habits. This year, if you want to understand how goals and intentions are going to make this epic. Beyond a year, if you want to create a bigger vision for your life and start living it. If you want to have more momentum across the board, then I would love for you to come and check out momentum.

It starts January 15th. So hopefully you’re listening to this early head across to lifepilot.co/momentum that is 10 weeks together to 10 X your life. I am so excited about the people who are joining this, and I’m really excited to deliver it and make a huge impact in your life. So if you want. Coaching accountability.

And bite-size learning. Where you’re actually going to learn and apply and implement. This is the course and live coaching experience for you. And it is like no other, because I have applied. A three prong approach to this where you will learn something on each live session, you will then start implementing it, and then you will get coached by me around any questions that you have or anything that you’re getting stuck on. And you’ll be held accountable during the weeks as well.

And this is the key, my friend to success. This is the key to what I was talking about right. At the beginning of this. Podcast on how to actually. Make learning count. You can be a lifelong student. But actually you want to be a leading learner where you get to teach, apply and share what you’re learning to benefit others and make an impact that is where life really gets juicy.

So lifepilot.co/momentum. Get in quick. I would love to work with you this year. Much love.


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About the Author

Natalie Sisson

I'm a serial entrepreneur, besotted Mum, best-selling author, speaker, podcaster and lifestyle design enthusiast. I'm all about showing you how to live life to the full, on your own terms and by design.

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