The “How-To” For Starting New Habits
To review our previous discussions on habits: you can’t remove an undesired habit-you can only replace it with a desired habit. In other words, if you want to stop snacking at night, you have to replace the snacking behavior with something else.
Let’s break down the process of how to establish new, desired, healthier habits.
Step 1: Recognize your current habits. Habits are, by their very nature, automatic. Become aware of your cues, what happens when that cue occurs, and what reward you are getting. Start paying attention to the details of your daily life. Increasing your mindfulness in this area will lead to a deeper awareness for all areas of your life.
Step 2: Be intentional about what changes you want to make.
Step 3: Be willing to invest the time, attention, intention and effort into making these changes. Be prepared to be uncomfortable at times. Be ready to not be perfect-but don’t give up. Understand that sabotaging thoughts might be noise in the background, but remind yourself that you don’t need to listen to them. Be enthusiastic about your growth.
1)Pick one change you’d like to make. Start with ONE thing. Don’t try to change your whole life at once.
2)Break the change down into small, doable, specific steps. Say you want to improve your sleep hygiene and get enough sleep each night. Your steps might be:
- Decide what time you want to go to bed and stick to it
- Plan to turn off all devices at least one hour before bedtime
- Purchase blackout curtains
- Hang blackout curtains
- And so on. Get the idea?
- Take advantage of existing habits-that’s called habit stacking.
- Schedule the new habit like an appointment. Put it in your calendar.
- Keep track of your new habit streak.
- Be certain to build in rewards.
- Watch out for sabotaging thoughts and know that creating a new habit is about progress, not perfection!!
Good luck. It will take work now, but before you know it, those healthy behaviors will be automatic.
Fact: Science has even confirmed that repetitive behavior changes the physicality of the brain.
Awareness Challenge this week: Once you’ve decided on your habit you want to practice, don’t worry if you miss a few days here and there, it doesn’t erase the progress you’ve made. Start the next day and continue working at it!
Tune in next time; we’ll discuss the sauna and its benefits.
In the meantime, if you’d like to know more about living a healthier lifestyle, reach out to us for our professional guidance and support. Give us a call!
“We first make our habits, and then our habits make us.” – John Dryden
Blog Photo Credit: Rachellance.com
Cover Photo Credit: asharpeye.com