I brush my teeth every day. I don’t think about it, I just do it. That is because it is a habit. I also don’t think about running my hands through my hair when I’m writing- habit or
So how do I get that ease with things that build my business? I guess I have to make it a habit. I would like communicating with you to become a habit.
How many times have you heard that it takes just a few weeks to develop a new habit? The truth is a bit more complicated than that, but there are scientific ways to help me (& you) lock in the changes we want to make.
The myth about behavior becoming automatic in 21 days started when journalists misinterpreted a popular self-help book on Psycho Cybernetics back in the 1960’s. After all, you can probably eat more vegetables starting today, but complex tasks like playing the violin are going to take more than a month to gel.
On the other hand, now is an ideal time to begin forming constructive habits that will enhance our happiness and wellbeing. Take a look at these strategies I have found for learning new behaviors.
Basic Strategies for Habit Formation
Try these tips for easing into your new routines as quickly as possible:
- Plan ahead. Eliminate excuses by plotting out your course in advance. I am planning out next month’s posts at the end of the previous month. If you want to wake up an hour earlier, go to bed on time, and dream about the invigorating yoga class and delicious breakfast that awaits you in the morning.
- Be consistent. Regularity reinforces itself. I am doing a Facebook live every day in January. The time isn’t consistent yet, but the activity is! Pretty soon it will be easier to go to the gym after work rather than changing your mind, even if it’s raining or your colleagues are heading out for beer and pizza.
- Spot triggers. What can you use as a trigger to do the thing? What is your trigger for brushing your teeth? For me it is taking my medicine which I have to do. What will be my trigger for the new habit. I can’t get into PJ’s until I have done my Facebook live. What will be yours?
- Review your reasons. Go over the reasons why you want to adopt your new behavior. Remind yourself about how drinking water instead of soda will help you slim down, strengthen your bones, and save money.
- Personalize your goals. I want to be more connected to my students. I want to know what struggles you are having and be here to support you! While you’re contemplating your reasons, visualize your future self. Focus on what you have to gain instead of just pleasing others.
Advanced Strategies for Habit Formation
What if you’re tackling something as ambitious as managing diabetes or transforming your dead-end dating history?
These ideas will give you an extra boost:
- Practice compassion. You’re bound to slip up occasionally. Forgive yourself, and move forward.
- Team up. Enlist a friend so you can exchange support and encouragement. Eat lunch with a colleague who is trying to lose weight too.
- Write it down. Raise your awareness by keeping a journal about your campaign to stop swearing or start flossing. Note what happens on the days you stick to your program compared to the days when you drift back into old patterns.
- Remove temptations. Eliminate the triggers that distract you from your objectives. Clear the junk food out of your kitchen or the cigarettes out of your car.
- Design obstacles. Make it difficult to give in to your old tendencies. Leave your credit cards at home to prevent impulsive shopping sprees.
- Go on vacation. Leave home for a while. Vacations are an ideal time to forge new habits because you can make a fresh start in different surroundings. Sit down to meditate each morning instead of becoming caught up in searching for lost socks or checking your email.
Make daily exercise and parallel parking so easy you won’t even have to think about them. Positive habits make advantageous choices automatic so you’ll stick with them. You’ll also have more energy to devote to other challenges.
I could use your support as I work on building the habit of reaching out to you more. Watch the Facebook lives (facebook.com/texasdirector, comment on the blog posts, send me an email (Texasdirectorcourse@gmail.com). However you like to communicate, please reach out to me!