What habits rule you?
Our habits, whether good or bad, significantly determine who we become and the type of future that we will have. An Olympic athlete, a high-paying speaker or writer, a successful business person, an alcoholic and a heroin addict all have very strong habits that have made them who they are today. You can take a guess, based on their habits what their future will be like as well.
A habit is a learned behavior that we do without even thinking about it. Our patterns become second nature and sometimes they are almost unconscious. It is estimated that between 50% - 70% of everything we do in a given day is based on habit.
Our brains are constantly striving for more efficiency. Any activity it can possibly transform into a habit where it no longer has to think, it will. When we do things repeatedly and consistently our brain literally rewire themselves and lays down grooves called neuropathways.
That’s why when we’ve done things for a long time it’s hard to “get out of the rut.”
Isn’t it interesting to think that most of the time we are living on autopilot, ruled by what we have always done? The things we accomplish, who we truly are or who we become, mostly depends on the habits that we carry out with little to no thought whatsoever. If you want to change your life, you must start by consciously changing your everyday habits. Aristotle says, “We are what we repeatedly do.”
In the book, “The Power of Habit”, Charles Duhigg says that our habits consist of a simple and powerful, three-step loop: Cue, Routine, and Reward. If you would like more information, I recommend this book. For today, we are going to talk about the routine part of the habit loop. Make your habit routine:
EASY, SUCCESSFUL & FUN!
Make it so easy that you can't say no. Especially at first - Set the minimum of what you will do every day or almost every day. If you find you are unable to do this consistently, scale it back to make it even easier. Rather than trying to do something amazing from the beginning, start small and gradually improve. Abandon your all-or-nothing mentality. A great motto for building habits is, “Some is better than none!”
Make it so easy that you have success with it on a regular basis.
#2 AFTER A TRACK RECORD OF SUCCESS – INCREASE SLOWLY
Once you have a track record of success and your habit is solid, it is much easier to make small increases. Now that you are doing things on autopilot and you have success, your motivation will increase, which will make it easier to stick to your habit. I can’t emphasize this enough, the habit is more important than the duration.
Samuel Johnson says, "The chains of habit are too weak to be felt until they are too strong to be broken."
My last tip is to make it fun! When you find yourself dreading something, change up what you will do that day. For example, if you are wanting to make a habit of running, change it up with a bike hide, a hike, or a tennis game. You are still keeping your fitness habit. If you are wanting to write a book, change it up by doing some fun journaling. This way you are still in the habit of writing. It’s much easier to jump back on the wagon when you are still taking the time to do something productive toward your goals even if it is slightly different. It is likely you will return in the next day or two with some more creative energy and enthusiasm.
“Habits are like gravity; they will always pull you toward them.” – Joel Osteen
TAKE THE CHALLENGE:
What are some of your current habits that you do on a consistent basis that you no longer have to think about?
What are 1-2 unhealthy habits that you wish to change?
What are 1-3 healthy habits that you would now like to have in your life?
Become the person that you want, and create the future that you desire. It all begins with our habits!
"When you change your habits, you change who you are." - Marshall Sylver