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Sunday, May 05 2019
It is no surprise that humans are creatures of habit. We tend to follow patterns, either consciously or unconsciously and are pretty predictable, so why is it so hard to adopt a new habit?
The truth is, adopting a new habit requires effort and consistency but most importantly it requires that we change our current routine to make space for new and unknown behaviors.
Luckily, this is not impossible and quite attainable. If you are ready to create positive changes in your life, keep reading and follow this 5 simple techniques that will set you on the right path.
1. Start Small, really small
If you are like most people, you want instant gratification. The greatest and fastest benefit for the smallest amount of effort. However, forming and sticking to new habits does not quite work this way. Change requires a tremendous amount of willpower and trying to make multiple modifications to your routine at the same time, will likely lead to giving up in the long run.
For example, if you want to incorporate meditation, improving your diet and increasing or starting a workout routine all at the same time, it can feel overwhelming on the mind and the body.
Experts recommend that you start small. Pick one habit that you want to focus on and incorporate it into your routine in small increments. Instead of committing to 30 minutes of meditation a day, begin with 5. Make a change so small that you barely feel it and you will be more likely to turn it into a habit that you can stick to.
2. Set Specific Intentions
The difference between goals and intentions are that goals focus on the future and intentions in the present. In order to create a new habit, you have to begin your day with a clear intention.
Intentions activate your receptivity and pave the way for the new habit to take place. It gives us direction and purpose for the day ahead.
An effective technique is to write down in a journal your intentions and be as specific as possible. This will give you a precise direction of what behaviors you have to accomplish in order to obtain the results that you are looking for. If we go back to our meditation example, you could write down something along the lines of “This month I am going to meditate for 5 minutes when I wake up each morning”. By setting specific, measurable goals, you are setting a clear path for the new habit to take place.
3. Celebrate Your Small Victories
Research shows that acknowledging your progress and rewarding yourself for how far you have became keeps you on track and pushes you to accomplish bigger victories in the future.
Celebrating small wins releases Dopamine the chemical responsible for generating feelings of pleasure. When this chemical is released it makes us feel good and makes us take action towards what triggered this feeling in the first place.
4. Create a Support System
Being surrounded by individuals that support your healthy and positive habits highly increases your chances of maintaining this new found success. Studies show that individuals with a strong support system live healthier, longer lives.
Create a support system that understands and supports your goals. For example, if you are trying to quit smoking and most of your friends are smokers, it’s going to be harder to accomplish your goal. Rather, surround yourself with people who can cheer you on and provide support when you are feeling discouraged.
5. Adopt a new Mindset
Denis Avey said, “The mind is a powerful thing. It can take you through walls.” Our thoughts tend to rule our reality, therefore it is crucial that your mindset aligns with the habit that you want to attain. Focus on the present and become aware of how your behavior either pushes you forward or sets you back. If you are finding that you are not moving towards your end goal, take this valuable data, turn it into a learning lesson and reset your mind towards what you want to achieve.
As a bonus, watch the below video and learn how the 20 Second Rule can help you increase your changes of forming new habits.