Building good habits and ridding yourself of bad ones is a huge accomplishment, but it typically doesn’t come easy. It often requires a lot of time and effort and you’ll likely face barriers (or obstacles) along the way that can derail your habit tracking or stop it altogether.
But thankfully, many barriers are easy to fix with just a few tweaks. And over time, you’ll become better at identifying and remedying them, making these barriers much easier to deal with in the future. So to help you prepare, below are 7 common barriers you may face while habit tracking and the best ways to fix them.
1) No Time
Without enough time, completing your habits can feel difficult or even impossible. One easy way to deal with this is by multitasking which can be done by combining your habits with behaviors that are already in your daily routine. For example, if someone’s habit is to stretch for 5 minutes each day, they may decide to do their stretching while in the shower, while reading, or watching TV as a way save time.
But for longer duration habits, like working out each day for 30 minutes, you may have to divide it up into three 10-minute sessions which you can fit in when you have the time. Remember, being busy is often unavoidable, but always try to complete a little bit of your habit whenever possible. So if you can’t do 30 minutes, try to do just 5. That way you’re still getting your mind and body used to doing your habit on a regular basis.
2) Lack Of Motivation
A lack of motivation is one of the most common barriers people come across and unfortunately, one of the most difficult ones to fix. This is due to the fact that motivation is different for everyone so it may take some detective work to figure out what works for you. One popular technique you can try is to write down all of the reasons why you want to achieve your goal. Then create visual cues to remind yourself of those reasons whether it’s photographs, posting your goals on the wall, etc.
Another way to stay motivated is to reward yourself. Sticking with good habits (or avoiding bad ones) is an accomplishment in itself, but it can be frustrating waiting so long to achieve your goals. So in the meantime, identify positive changes that are occurring as a result of your habits and reward yourself for them. For example, you may not have lost your goal of 5 lbs yet, but you’re probably eating healthier and following your diet. So reward yourself for that.
3) Unprepared Environment
You always want to make sure your environment is set up in the best way possible to complete your habits so it doesn’t hinder your progress. So if a person is on a diet, for example, they may want to remove junk food from the house, position healthy foods so they are highly visible, and leave diet aids out on their counters (like a food scale or measuring cups). You basically want the things that make completing your habits easier to be highly visible and easily accessible.
You also want to be able to complete your good habits using the least steps possible. For example, if you’re going to do a workout in your bedroom each day, make sure you have a clear space and everything you need (like dumbbells) is right there ready to go. If you’re stuck having to clean out an area each day and go looking for your weights, you’re less likely to do your workout. And while you’re at it, remove things that can distract you, like removing your laptop or cell phone from the room.
4) Negative People
Negative people can be a huge barrier when it comes to achieving goals because of the emotion involved. Typically, these people will constantly question you, put you down, or do other things that make it harder to stick with your habits. In some cases, just speaking with the negative person and letting them know how you feel is enough to remedy the problem.
But in other cases, you may have to start avoiding the negative person (if possible) or be ready to accept the fact that they aren’t going to change. If you don’t have a person in your life who can support you, try joining an online forum where you can find people trying to achieve the same goals you are. There you should be able to find like-minded people who can support you, provide tips and advice, and keep you motivated.
5) Physical Exhaustion
Exhaustion is another common barrier we come across at one point or another. The first thing you need to do is to accept the fact that tiredness is a part of life. And missing a few days of habits due to exhaustion is not the end of the world. Use that time to get some rest, then continue with your habits as soon as you’re able. Or if you’re scared of losing your groove, temporarily decrease the difficulty or frequency of your habits until you feel better.
If you find that feeling exhausted is a common occurrence, you may want to add habits to your routine that help you feel more rested (even if you have to put your other habits on hold). You may also want to consider visiting a doctor as you could be suffering from a medical condition that requires intervention. Whatever you do, don’t ignore your exhaustion as it can make doing your habits 10-times harder. Plus, in many cases it’s fixable.
6) Lack Of Triggers
With everything going on in our lives, forgetting our habits is easy. This is why triggers (or reminders) are so important. Examples of triggers include alarms, post-it notes, objects, or anything that reminds you to complete your habits. The best triggers are ones you can’t miss or are unique enough to get your attention among all the other stimuli in your life.
In some cases, triggers can eventually lose their effectiveness so they may need to be switched out on occasion. It can also be beneficial to use triggers that serve as motivation. Say your cholesterol is high, for example, you may want to write your cholesterol number on a piece of paper and tape it to your fridge. That way you are reminded of the reason you are eating healthy before selecting each meal.
7) Going Too Fast
Creating habits that are too difficult or doing them too frequently (before you’re ready) is another barrier you may encounter. Habits should be created to be simple and easy to complete, especially when first starting. In other words, take baby steps. Going too quickly can stress you out and cause negative consequences that can scare you off.
If you have trouble coming up with “baby steps”, you can search online for suggestions. There are tons of websites offering simple steps you can take to lose weight, get a promotion, do better in school, save money, or anything else you can think of. For example, a baby step to losing weight might be to drink water before meals.
What are some barriers that you have faced while habit tracking? Please share in the comments!