photo credit: Tikklo Maciel @Tikklo – unsplash
Habits are like rabbits; be careful which ones you choose to develop because habits, like rabbits, quickly multiply.
How many of us have said something similar to the following?
“Tomorrow I’m going to wake up early and start jogging!” ” I’m going to start eating healthy from now on!”
“Starting on New Year’s Day I am going to begin eating healthier”.
We’ve all done it. We have all planned to make a change and promised ourselves that things are going to be different. We all have good intentions to improve ourselves. Some of us seem to be able to go through with what we say we will do while others have a long grocery list of reasons why they have to stop pursuing the habit they wanted to build. How are some people able to “stick it out” in good habit building? What are they doing differently to be successful and motivated” that the rest of us are not doing?
The common belief is that forming a habit can take 21 days. For some, that might be a long time to keep up with that daily intense workout routine (the one they began on New year’s day). But, Is this belief actually true?
You’ll never change your life until you change something you do daily. The secret of your success is found in your daily routine. – John C. Maxwell
How Long Does It take to Form a New Habit?
In a study done by Phillipa Lally (Health Psychology Research, University College, London) 96 participants were asked to take on the task of adopting a new habit over the course of 12 weeks. The participants pursued new health habits which differed from person to person. Although the study was not perfect, it did reveal that forming a habit most certainly takes longer than 21 days. In fact, it took, on average, 66 days to form a new habit.
Clearly, forming new habits will vary from person to person and depend on the type of habit being formed. For example, a new habit of drinking a glass of water each morning might be formed more quickly than doing intense morning workouts every day.
Good habits are the key to all success. – Og Mandino
How Forming Positive Habits Is Beneficial
Good habits build a foundation for life
Any parent and teacher can testify to the fact that good regular study habits and lifestyle habits will help students do well academically. As parents, we drill this information into our children’s. but just as it is pertinent for growing children, good habit forming is essential to building a solid foundation for people of all ages.
Good habits help us to eliminate time wasting
When we have installed a routine of good habits in our life, they become automatic after a while. They also replace what we might be doing: wasting time- because they help us to be focused and more efficient. the more good daily habits we have, the less unfocused activity we will do.
Good habits help us reach our goals
It has been said that we overestimate what we can accomplish in one year and underestimate what we can accomplish in five years. Simple daily habits done consistently over time have a cumulative effect and eventually, they can help us reach the goals we have set.
Good habits help us stay on track
Motivation can only take us so far – until we become unmotivated, that is. It is almost as if motivation has an on-off button. One defeat can discourage us and then we don’t “feel like” doing what we were so motivated to do anymore. Good habits, on the other hand, are integrated into our daily like such that we begin to do them automatically. they are not driven by fickle motivation.
Quick Tips for Forming a New Habit:
Track your progress for success
Be intentional about setting goals for your new habit (discipline). Write down what you want to do. Set your parameters (When?, Where? How? Why?) Answering these questions can help you to track and measure your progress. Put your new habit into your schedule. Treat it like anything else you have to do that is important to you. Finally, keep a log, a journal or some other way of daily measuring your progress.
Have some kind of reminder or trigger that tricks your brain into going into action mode. For example, if your goal is to jog each morning before your coffee, have your jogging clothes out ready and your running shoes at the door. Go into action mode. Do what you have decided to do. Tell yourself it’s time.
Then, give yourself a reward afterward. Giving a reward is how you can send a message to your brain that this is what you want to do and “here’s why” – I get a REWARD. Help your brain record the idea that this is an activity to be repeated automatically.
Don’t sabotage your efforts by listening to your excuses. Speak to yourself and tell yourself that you will not accept excuses. Visualize your success. Actually, create a mind video that you can replay to yourself any time you feel like quitting. You are in control of your thoughts and decisions.
Get Around a Group or a Community for Support and Encouragement
Just as Alcohol Anonymous has always succeeded with the group support model, the same is true for developing new habits. Get around people who can encourage you and keep you accountable. A Community creates belief. The power of association helps turn a new habit into a permanent behavior. Success is yours if you choose.
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Diana’s passions are family, travel, self-improvement, living a debt-free/financially free life. She also loves hanging out with family, friends and being with her dog, Skye. You can connect with her through livingandstuff.ca
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