How to Create Good Habits

For the month of November, I’ll be focusing on creating good habits (setting realistic goals, sleep, eating and exercise). This might seem like a mean trick to play with the upcoming Holidays, but I think planning ahead might help make things a little easier, even if you decide to start in January. Personally, I am not a New Year’s Resolution kind of person. At. All. 

I’m definitely more of the type of person that decides something needs to change and then tries to work on that thing. This seems to work better for me, and I don’t feel as discouraged as making a New Year’s Resolution knowing I probably won’t make it past January 10th! 

I was talking to our son over this past weekend and he mentioned several things that he would like to do within the next year. They were big things. And they were good things. But because I’m wired in a similar way, I knew that if he tried to do even half of those things this year, he would end up discouraged and not do any of them. Even if he did do most of them, they likely wouldn’t be done well. 

One of the hardest things for my highly sensitive clients (HSPs) when making goals is that perfectionism creeps and rears its ugly head. When this happens, they usually get discouraged, shut down and stop trying. They will either abandon the project/idea altogether or they will procrastinate on it for as long as possible. Earlier, I wrote a blog on how perfectionism and anxiety hang out and you can read it here.

Here are a few things that might help you when creating good habits:

Give Your Future Self a Gift

This one is probably one of my favorites because it’s easy to remember and it really works! I wish I could take credit for this phrase but one of my dear clients told me this once in session. Whenever I find myself really procrastinating on something, I remind myself to give my future self a gift. It’s a good motivator in reminding myself that my future self doesn’t want to deal with this thing or be annoyed at my procrastination any more than my current self. So usually I get the thing done and move on to the next thing. 


One of the tricks perfectionism plays is causing you to procrastinate. Perfectionism is sneaky and subtle. It may not even look like perfectionism at first. It might take the form of anxiety or even procrastination. Recently, I procrastinated on submitting some information to a conference I thought I might want to be a presenter.  I waited so long to fill out the application that they were no longer taking applications. Then I felt relieved because I thought, “They probably wouldn’t have wanted a presentation on that anyway.” This is perfectionism at it’s finest. The, “don’t even bother trying because it will be a no” kind. Even though I teach people about perfectionism all the time, it’s hard to see it in myself sometimes! As you plan your healthy habits, keep in mind that perfectionism is going to try to get you to procrastinate, which will then try to make you think it’s too late to change anything. Don’t listen! Do it anyway!

Focus on One thing at a Time

This is the hardest one for most of my HSPs. Usually they have 10 ideas swirling around in their heads all at once. Sometimes they will try and tackle several (or all) of them at once and then they get discouraged and give up. Instead, I encourage them to focus on one thing, get that up and running well, then add the next thing. For example, many years ago, I decided I need to make some changes to my diet. I was trying to give up sugar and soda and carbs… I’m sure you can guess how well that turned out. When I realized nothing was changing, I decided to give up soda. And once I got to a point where I felt comfortable with that, I gave up the next thing I had on my list. 

As we approach the end of the year and think about creating good personal self-care habits, I think it’s important to remember to give yourself extra time to figure out how to incorporate the big idea, change or goal into your life. Changing your mindset to focus on what you are doing rather than what you aren’t doing. 

I hope this helps you find the answer to questions about being realistic in making some healthy changes and how it might help improve your mental health.  If you’re still feeling uneasy about this process, please feel free to contact me at 317.496.0456 or email I’d be happy to hear what is happening and help you find the right fit for counseling. If you are looking for help with depression, anxiety, trauma or behavioral concerns, you can read more about how I can help at my website peacefamilycounseling.

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