You’re only as strong as your weakest habit. To that end, you’re setting yourself up to fail if you don’t develop positive habits. But to develop a positive habit, you must know what a habit is. And have some basic strategies to form positive habits.
What’s a habit?
The definition of a habit is a settled tendency or usual manner of behavior.
Or, another way to look at habits is that they’re time and energy-saving devices. You have to think less about actions when you put them on auto-pilot. And you become more efficient at performing them.
You have many habits that you aren’t aware of. That’s because a habit is an activity you perform in your subconscious. So, you don’t notice them.
But, when you try to form or break a habit, you become aware of them. Your actions take center stage.
You view habits as both good and bad. It depends on how they’re affecting your life.
Look at your daily routines to see some of the habits you already have. Such as:
- Getting dressed,
- Taking a shower,
- Brushing your teeth,
- Knowing exactly how to get to and from work,
- Washing the dishes,
- Doing the laundry, and
- Making your bed after getting dressed
You don’t have to think about these activities because they’re part of your routine. And you’re accustomed to them.
Can you imagine the effort needed to remember how to do each step of those chores? You would end up exhausted before lunchtime.
The problem with habits
You must leverage positive habits to accomplish your mission. The only problem is forming them.
Let’s say you want to form the habit of keeping your kitchen counters less cluttered. Creating this habit takes time and effort. To keep those counters clear, you must find homes for the items strewn across your kitchen landscape. Then create the habit of making sure those items return to their allotted place. For example, finding cabinet space for your blender. Or putting the dishes in the dishwasher each night.
Routine to the rescue
These counter-clearing tasks seem small. But without a routine, you’re less likely to see them through on a consistent enough basis to form a new habit.
Research indicates that it takes approximately 3 to 4 weeks to form a good habit. This means for one month, you must make an effort to perform these tasks. As time passes, you’ll notice it takes less energy to perform the tasks. That’s because your mind is becoming accustomed to your new actions.
One strategy for staying consistent is to put reminders around your home. These reminders can be items or notes.
As an example, let’s say you want to fit into your bathing suit for an upcoming summer beach vacation. So, you set a goal to lose 10 pounds. You could leave your bathing suit in a conspicuous place to remind you to cut down on snacking.
You could also write notes and leave them around your home where you’ll see them. One place could be the refrigerator door. So, when you feel like snacking, you’re reminded of why you’re trying to lose weight.
Reframe the activity
Reframing the activity as something you look forward to is another strategy.
If exercising is the new habit, your forming, frame exercising as something enjoyable. Remind yourself during the day that when you get home, you’re going to take a relaxing walk. The key is to look forward to the task instead of looking at it as a chore.
This way, you’ll look forward to your after-dinner walk. Remember, the more you repeat the process, the faster you form the habit.
Habits save you time and energy because you don’t have to think about performing them. The biggest problem with positive habits is forming them. Some strategies for doing so include:
- Developing a routine,
- Using reminders like objects or notes, or
- Reframing the activity.
No matter how you choose to form your new habit, positive habits are necessary for success.
If you want to learn more about habits, get my free Strength and Reason: The Incredible Power of Habit Introductory Guide
How have habits led to your success? Comment below.
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