First of all, I would like to apologize for the delay in writing a new post (was really busy with some other important tasks). But anyway, I am back and today I am going to write about a very interesting topic called ‘Habit Change’. Do you have a habit you want to change? Maybe you want to quit smoking,
stop eating unhealthy foods or turn around negative thoughts. Do you have a habit
you want to create? Changing our habits to improve what we are can be a painful process. It must be motivated by a higher purpose, and by the willingness to subordinate what you think you want now for
what you know you want later.
“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence then, is not an act, but a habit.” -Aristotle
In the past few days, I was reading some articles and books about habit changes and was really surprised to see that simple habits that we are so used to perform in our day-to-day lives determine not only our characters but also our success level as well. No matter how small the habits are, how insignificant those might look, we need to have a closer look on the things we repeatedly do and on the words we frequently say. Habit changing is nothing but a skill and like every other skill, it can be learned with sufficient practice and enough determination. Here I am going to discuss two tactics that I found in common among all the success stories that I have read so far.
1. The famous ’30 day trial’:
The first push, which makes up 99% of the total energy you will put into creating a permanent habit takes place in the first month. If done successfully, after the first month the new habit will be a reflex, requiring only a little bit of energy to handle changes in situations. Even if you eventually let the habit slip after several months, the real source of the problem usually occurred somewhere in the first month.
The first thirty days are much like an hour when an axeman is sharpening his blade before actually cutting down the trees. They may seem insignificant when you keep a habit for months or years, but they account for most of your results. Doing same thing repeatedly for 30 days creates new neural pathways in our brains which eventually forms a new habit. There would definitely be some uncomfortable or restless feelings in this period but trust me, those are normal and would go away after a certain period.
I have had difficulties in working out regularly and discarding some of the junk/unhealthy foods from my daily diet in the past, but following this trial and also by showing a strong determination, I was able to overcome those to a great extent and offcourse, I feel GREAT about that.
Trigger is simply understanding and reinforcing the cue that starts your habit. It is nothing more than the first link in the chain of a habit. By controlling the first few links in the chain we can eventually control the entire output.
The cue is a piece of stimulus that precedes your habit, like the bell for Pavlov’s dogs.The best cues are external (time of day, alarm clock, after tasks, work, etc.) but when there aren’t any consistent external cues for when you should perform your habit, you need to look for internal cues. Internal cues are harder to make triggers,but they will work.
The most important part of your trigger is your ritual. This should be a concise set of actions no more than fifteen minutes long, and often it can be as little as a few seconds. Your ritual needs to be strongly associated with your habit, so it should be done every time in the same fashion.The most important part of your ritual is that it is consistent. If you don’t use your ritual every time you run your habit it loses power. The benefit of using a ritual is that you use it every time.
Finally, in a more cognitive way, creating a new neural pathway is never easy. This is because old neural pathways are very greedy, and don’t like to give up any of their brain real estate. They fight to keep that real estate from other intruding neurons. New activities that are trying to create new neural pathways have to compete for this brain real estate with old neural pathways (old activities).This is why breaking an old habit is so hard. and the sight of a simple piece of chocolate can break all your healthy routine.There is a brain real estate war waging inside our heads when we introduce new habits. Each habit you add to your life has a cumulative effect. They are like an investment in your success. Over time these success habits move you closer and closer to achieving success in life. The more good daily success habits you add over time, the closer you get to success. And wealth will eventually follow.