We are all plagued with habits, whether they are good or bad; our routine is almost completely dominated by them. From how we drive to the way we dance. Habits do not start overnight, they develop over time and nearly always from doing something we enjoy or get some reward.
If we are so good at developing habits why is it so difficult for us to consciously develop good habits when we want to? We have a subconscious system that controls nearly everything we do, most of the time we completely oblivious of what we are doing. It is this system that protects you in the face of danger without a second thought, the same system makes you drive down the normal route on the day you are going somewhere else. We have all done it.
Virtually everything we do is based on what we have done in the past and the more often we do something the more your subconscious system thinks that is what you want to do. It doesn’t matter if you’ve changed your mind the subconscious mind steam-rolls ahead anyway.
So how do you develop good habits so they will stick. We need to use the same method that developed all your current habits.
Here’s my ‘5 Simple Tips to Develop Good Habits’
1. Start Slowly
Say you want to do 300 press ups everyday going at it full pelt from day one will make you feel good but you probably won’t get past day three. On day one do 1 press up and increase this by 1 mor 2 every day. Remember it is a habit we are forming and it won’t take long to start building up.
2. Use Emotion
Every time you do your new habit really generate some good feeling around it, it will help to convince your subconscious mind it is a good thing. Smile, laugh and really feel it. Remember if it is a bad feeling you will subconsciously avoid it.
3. Tie It to Something
Tie it to something else you do during the day for the press up example above perhaps you do it before you get in the shower each morning. Over time this will be used as a reminder. Think how many times during the day you do automatic things one after the other, like your seatbelt when getting in the car although it is compulsory there is many different orders it can be done but you will have your order which is your habit.
4. Reward Yourself
After every five consecutive days give yourself a reward, it could be a pat on the back or some money in a jar. Do not do it daily, you do need to feel like you deserve the reward. If you skip a day restart the counter.
5. Make Yourself Accountable
Tell someone your plans, it has to be someone positive that will support you. Maybe you will text the number of press ups every time you do them. This person shouldn’t nag because it will bring the negative thoughts regarding this habit; gentle reminder would be fine.
Anybody can develop good habits and it doesn’t take some kind of miracle dedication or focus, just little bit of planning, patience and above all enjoy it.