Getting into the habit of doing something is often easier said than done. We seem to acquire bad habits without any effort, but getting into a “good” habit can be a little more challenging.
To begin this journey, here are the 3-step process for creating new habits.
1. Decide what you want to do
– be as specific as possible. Deciding what your new habit will be and commit to when and how you’re going to do it is half the battle.
2. Remind yourself to get it done
– A few days into your new routine, you will start to notice that it’s easier to slip back into old habits than sticking with your new one. This is when it’s important to have a daily remember. Set the alarm on your phone or add the new habit to your to-do list or write it down where you will always see it.
3. Even before the new behavior becomes automatic, a routine will help you get it done without having to spend a lot of willpower or relying on daily reminders. Incorporate your new habit into your daily routine.
The Inverse Relationship between Habits and Willpower
– When you think about it, there is an inverse relationship between habits and willpower. Building a new habit takes a lot of willpower to get it done day in and day out but as you start to establish the habit, it becomes easier and easier to do until you don’t even have to think about it anymore.
Just being aware of this process helps us stick it out. We know eventually that the new routine will be a habit that we will automatically do. There is a light at the end of the tunnel. But while we are in that transition from willpower to habit, we can use tools to make it easier.
1. Use a to-do list or set a reminder to help stray on track.
2. Find an accountability partner so the two of you can motivate each other and help bolster that will power when it starts to fade after the first enthusiasm wears off.
3. Even as simple as conditioning your mind that you will do the next day will make it easier for you to do so.
Do what you can to help your willpower along until you have made the new behavior a true habit, after that it will be easy and automatic and you’ve created a new lifelong habit.
How long does it really take to create a new habit?
The real answer is that it depends. It depends on your mindset and it depends on how big of a change it is from what you are doing now. While it is different from one person to the next and even from one habit to the next, there are a few things to keep in mind:
1. It is easier to make a new habit than get rid of an old one. Whenever possible, try to replace an old habit with a new one rather than just reformatting the old one.
2. Habits will form faster if you stick to the same time and environment each day.
3. A constant reminder of WHY you are trying to change your behavior is also helpful. Keep those reminders around you put up a photo on your bedside table or use it as a wallpaper on your phone – keep your reason why you’re changing front and center then be prepared to stick it out.
Get some Help – Simple Hacks to Help You Build New Habits
1. Schedule it and put it on the to-do list
2. Make it public and be accountable
3. Piggyback on a habit that you already have
– Whenever possible, add the new habit to one that you already have.
4. Make slip-ups costly
5. Find a partner and help each other along
6. Make it a group challenge
Make it a Habit – The Benefit of Routine and Habit-filled Day
– Have you noticed that it gets harder to make decisions toward the end of the day? That’s because we all have a finite amount of decision that we can make on any given day. Knowing that helps us prioritize. We can cut out a lot of decision making by implementing habits and routines. That way we save them for the important stuff, it also free brain space for more creative and productive thinking. Routines are a great tool that simplifies our lives and cut out a lot of our daily stress.
Sit down with a pen and piece of paper and think about what parts of your day and week you can turn into routines. Write down and create daily to-do lists for yourself until you’ve established these new habits and routines.
Spending a little bit of time creating routines and habits will make your day run a lot smoother. You might just find yourself less stressed and get more done during your productive hours, and that’s a beautiful thing. It allows you to save plenty of decision for the fun stuff like figuring out a park to go to, what family movie to watch or what board game to play.