We all have good habits we want to adopt and bad habits we wish we could drop. Things we ‘should’ be doing instead of what we actually do. Habits are subconscious programs installed in our brains through repetition. Until we change that program with one that supports us and helps us achieve our goals, we will continue to classify some habits as ‘bad habits’. To be able to make a lasting change in your life, you need to commit to raising your standards. Here are some useful tips that you can use today to create lasting good habits.
Make a decision
While this might seem like a step you can skip, simply deciding on a new habit and making a commitment towards it is a crucial step. Do not try to develop 10 new habits at the same time. If you have decided to wake up early every morning, you need to make a decision to do the same and at least for the first month allow for no exceptions. Visualise yourself performing the desired behaviour in your mind’s eye. Selecting one habit greatly reduces the possibility of failure. As human beings, when you fail to see progress we tend to assume that it isn’t working and put a stop to our efforts. Having a clearly defined goal and the determination to see it through to the end is the first step to creating lasting good habits.
Do you know how you always seem to make it on time for meetings but not so much on regular days? No,meeting rooms and conference rooms do not have a secret magnetic pull to them. To understand habits better and how we can do certain things without even thinking about them, we need to take a closer look at the habit loop. The three steps to every habit are: Cue, routine and reward. Every habit is triggered by a particular internal or external stimulus known as a cue. This cue could be time of day, a smell, taste, feeling or even meeting someone. For example: Many people feel the need to brush their teeth immediately after waking up. To help you fast-track your new habit formation process, you can follow the principle of habit stacking. Insert the new habit, before or after your old habit, example: reading a book for 15 minutes as soon as you are done brushing your teeth. This sets up the cue for whenever you finish brushing your teeth you will think about and be motivated to read a book for 15 minutes.
What is your reward?
This is an important step that many people seem to forget. As human beings we are all hardwired to avoid pain and seek pleasure. While most bad habits provide us with immediate rewards. Good habits can have rewards that we find after months or years of repeating them. This is the reason why it is easier to indulge in bad habits and avoid good ones. However, that will no longer be the case once you begin to appropriately reward yourself for good habits. Each time you reward good behaviour, you reinforce the behaviour. By consistently rewarding yourself you begin to unconsciously associate the pleasure of the reward with the habit you are currently taking part in. For example: Coworking spaces in Mumbai have the added reward of meeting new people, making it more likely for you to go to work.
The best way to ensure that these methods work will be to limit your focus and try to build one good habit at a time. By following this method you will be able to successfully develop 12 good habits in an entire year. The only way to success is by focusing on fundamentals and getting better by building the habits that will support you for a long time.
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