A Guide to Habit Resilience

By Leo Babauta

I’ve coached thousands of people who want to change habits, in my Sea Change Program, and I’ve found there’s a key difference between those who actually make changes and those who don’t.

That key difference is what I like to call “habit resilience.”

Habit resilience is the ability to bounce back when things don’t go as you planned, to stay positive, to encourage yourself, to forgive yourself, to be loving and compassionate with yourself, to shake it off and start again afresh. To learn and grow from struggles.

The opposite of habit resilience is getting discouraged when things don’t go as planned, beating yourself up, trying not to think about it when you mess up, ignoring problems, complaining, blaming others, deciding you can’t change, hardening your low or harsh opinion of yourself.

Let’s look at one example:

I want to change my eating habits, which is pretty tough to do … so I set myself a plan to eat oats for breakfast, a salad for lunch, and scrambled tofu with veggies for dinner. Great! But then during the week, I have to go to a work get-together, a family party, a 3-day trip to New York, and then my daughter’s birthday party. All the plans went out the window on those days.

So at this point, I can give up, beat myself up, ignore the problem … or, if I’ve developed habit resilience, I can shake myself off, make some adjustments to the plan, give myself some love, encourage myself, and start again, keeping a positive attitude the whole time. The second way of doing it will result in long-term change – if you can stick with it, there’s no change you can’t create.

That’s just one version of habit resilience, but you can see the difference between the first option and the second one is huge.

So how do we develop habit resilience? Let’s take a look.

Developing Habit Resilience

The good news is that you can develop this marvelous quality or skill of habit resilience. Actually, it’s a set of skills, but they can be developed with some practice.

Here’s how to develop habit resilience:

Can you feel that if you practice these skills, you’ll handle any difficulty that comes your way? That your path to change might be bumpy, filled with obstacles, but nothing will stop you if you keep a positive attitude, keep coming back, keep being loving and compassionate with yourself?

This is habit resilience. And it will change your entire life, if you practice.