Habits are a tricky thing at times, here are 5 steps that improve your habits. Getting them to stick is sometimes aggravating and it seems like we will never get to improve. Plus it doesn’t help that we tend to form bad habits easier than a good one.
First, let’s look at the habit loop from my article on Habits.
Why Are They So Hard To Form?
I learned something that opened my eyes to why it’s hard for some of us to form habits. Habits are another way of keeping yourself connected to the mundane; we avoid routines because they seem boring and our minds avoid boring at all cost. We also feel like autopilot zombies experiencing life on replay and that is just not appealing. We avoid habits because we feel we will be living less, and frankly, that is a good reason not to like them.
So how do you convince yourself to keep going long enough for the habit loop to form?
Here are 5 ways to help you form any habit, and keep it going.
Start by disconnecting, disconnecting is about letting go of the feelings associated with your habit. Often times it’s the way we feel about what we are about to do that triggers anxiety and thus inactivity. When you disconnect you allow the action to occur without an emotional drag. At first, it will be hard to recognize when you are having an emotional response when attempting to start an action, but rest assure you will get better with practice. Recognize the slight shift in your emotion as you begin to think about starting your habit. It will feel like a bad omen, slightly foreboding and depressive. As soon as you feel it coming on stop yourself, knowledge it and push it away. Think of an alternative happy feeling instead. According to science thinking of something else when you feel fear or dread helps to rewire your brain to disassociate a feeling from a familiar pattern. It really does change your brain one thought at a time. I am now able to do things like laundry, without feeling like a load has been dumped on me, even if it has.
#2 Be intentional
Most habits are hard because we wait for the urge to strike us, and unfortunately for most of us, the mood never will. Try to practice awareness, awareness is able to be applied to everything in your life, including habits. Self-awareness works to hold you accountable with things that need to be done.
You will notice when you intentionally do or choose to carry out a task, you feel greater life gratification overall. Being a human who has advanced to the level of self-awareness and intentionality is a character that can only bring greater understanding and wisdom.
Example, when you reach for a cookie and you reach for it intentionally you understand why you are doing it. If you acknowledge that it’s because of loneliness, or hunger, you stop and decide what would be a better alternative?
However an intentional person can choose the cookie too, but with the understanding that it’s for pure enjoyment, you paid respect to yourself enough to actually be aware of its taste and magnificence. Remember, the rest of your habits deserve that kind of respect as well. You were made for greater self-awareness for a reason, for living an amazing life.
With intentionality, you get to choose too or not too complete a task based on what results you want. Being in control of your actions is very liberating.
#3 Choose Goals
Another trick is to look at habits as goals. Goals are so much more enticing and focus driven simply because we are choosing the action versus being made to do it. When you set goals you let your mind know that it is a good thing, that completing a habit will lead to an end reward, a job well done and self-satisfaction.
Choose small goals first, that way you can reach them. Reaching a small goal leads to increased self-esteem and that can push you to complete bigger and bigger goals.
Teaching your mind to enjoy creating is very valuable. When you give yourself small victories, you begin to believe you are capable of more. Self-belief is essential to creating the life you dream of.
#4 Treat yourself often.
Last, don’t wait a long time between habits to give yourself an “Ata boy or girl” reward. Use the old trick of oxytocin, use chocolate. A small piece of chocolate after studying or completing a series of tasks can help entice your drive. Another reward is smell, smells are amazing rewards for cleaning, it completes the habit loop and ensures that your mind wants to repeat the action. Music can also be used as a reward, listening to your favorite band while de-cluttering can make a burdensome task easier to manage, and that’s why exercise and music work so well, it makes the time pass by quicker.
#5 Keep At It
It will take longer than the well-known 21 days for some habits to form, there is no way around that. I always waited for twenty-one days, I kept wishing my habit would just feel natural and the drag I felt with trying to complete it would go away after the 21 days. Well, it never happens like that for me, and according to science, habit forming is a varied thing. Some people will take 21 days and others might take a whole year. Apparently, I was one of the “whole year” group. With every bad quality comes a good reason. My inability to stick to habits led me to find another method. I use every method above and I keep at it. If I fall from the routine, I am kind to myself and jump back on the habit as soon as I am aware. Its now 3 years and I can say, I have certain habits like cleaning after myself, getting started on projects, and exercising every morning.
Conclusively, Habits Are Not Cut and Dry
Don’t judge yourself based on how everyone else gets life done. Be kind to you and understand that even people who claim to be always on top of life, have down days. Those down days are needed, they teach us to appreciate our creative nature.
So to help make habits stick make sure to disconnect from the feeling; build intentionality into everyday tasks; set smaller doable goals, and use small healthy rewards to close that loop. Don’t forget the more you stick to doing it the more familiar those habits will become and the less resistance you will have to creating a habit.
I love self-improvement because I benefit and those around me benefit. Here are some amazing habits to improve your life, this list below is from entrepreneur.com now these are for wealth and success, but I find these are pretty amazing habits for anybody, the habits you need to create real change in life.
What are some of your essential habits? Comment down below and let me know what habit you found indispensable.
You get to choose how you live each day.
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