The Art of Forming New Habits:
5 QUICK TIPS
Habits are actions that we have repeated so many times that our brains switch to automatic mode to complete the task. For example: your kids leave for school, you automatically reach for your running shoes and you’re on the road before you have a chance to think about how lazy you feel today.
Whether you want to drink more water regularly or start up a new exercise routine, here are some quick tips on how to harness the incredible power of habits:
- 1. Know What You Want
- When an action has been repeated often enough, it becomes a habit. Be warned though, unless we consciously choose what we want to develop into a habit, we could end up with some unwanted habits. We need to be aware of what we want to train ourselves to do because it is far easier to learn a new habit than to break a habit that no longer serves us.
- 2. Schedule and Reward
- New habits can be learned in as little as 10 days, depending on how often it has been repeated. Schedule how often you will train yourself to do it – the more repetitions you get in, the quicker the habit will form. Repeat the habit activity at least 3 times a week; daily is better. Reward yourself at intervals to ensure you keep coming back for more.
- 3. One at a time
- Make one change at a time. Multi-tasking between three or four new habits will dilute the learning process and it will take longer to see results. This can be de-motivating and chances are you’ll give up too soon.
- 4. Checkpoints
- Set yourself checkpoints along the way: around 30 days, you should find your coaching paying off. It will no longer take willpower to continue your change, but disruptions may still put you off track. After about 3 months, stopping your new habit will be no more difficult than continuing. When you’ve stuck with your new habit for a year, your body and mind will be so used to the change that you’ll find the habit more difficult to stop than to simply continue with it. This is when you know the new routine has become a true habit.
- 5. Enjoyment
- You may have made a promise to your spouse to get fit or read up on all the dangers of dehydration. These can be motivating but the greatest motivator of all is fun. When you can anticipate enjoyment, no-one needs to remind you and you will not need to force yourself to enjoy your new change.
- << BONUS TIP>> Change With Change
- This is a revision of an old salesman’s trick: keep 8 coins on the kitchen windowsill. Every time you have a glass of water, stick one coin on the ‘fridge door or put it into a jar or better still, in your pocket. Your daily ‘training’ is complete when there are no coins left on the windowsill.