Humans are creatures of habit. We tend to develop certain habits such as waking up at a particular time everyday, brushing our teeth, drinking our favourite beverage and commuting to work everyday. It’s the same routine every constant day. It's hard to break bad habits. But when it comes to building healthy habits, small decisions add up over time.
Behavioural scientists who study habit formation stated that many of us try to create habits the wrong way. A lot of us take a lot of bold decisions and resolutions to lose weight, study everyday or something like that only to follow it in the beginning and then bring it to a halt.
Given are some ways to develop habits :
- Stack your habits
One of the best ways to develop habits is by coupling to an existing one. Notice and study the habits of the day and think about what habits you could use to tie up with the existing ones, in a positive way. For most of us, morning routines tend to be our strongest habits, hence, use it to our advantage. For example, pair your morning cup of tea or coffee with a minute of meditation or everytime you brush it with 30 squats or one foot exercise. It should be noted that big behaviour changes require a high level of motivation that often can’t be sustained. It is therefore advised to begin with small habits that make the big habits as easy as possible to execute.
- Do not be afraid of setbacks
Setbacks are a natural process in everybody’s life. It should be seen as a stepping stone rather than a pulling force. Every day is a new day and one should never give up. Things do get tough at times but what matters is we keep pushing ourselves to perform better.
- Cut out the triggers
Making it as easy as possible to break a habit might seem obvious, but if your environment is enhancing these bad habits and making good habits harder, change it. Get rid of the sugary snacks from the kitchen cupboards, delete the apps on your phone that distract you or take the batteries out of your TV remote.
- Visualise yourself succeeding
Whatever the bad habit is that you are looking to break, visualise yourself succeeding with it, smiling, and enjoying your success. See yourself building a new identity. The most important thing to remember is not to be very hard on yourself. Every step counts. Its natural for habits to change and developing new ones does take a while. But, it’s never impossible.
- Reward yourself
Set little and do-able goals for yourself. On completion of each goal reward yourself with something that you really love. This will motivate you to work harder to develop your habit. Moreover, setting little goals for yourself can really produce efficient results. But, one must remember that the reward shouldn’t be something that could affect the habit being cultivated. For example, do not reward yourself with junk food for eating healthy for a week.
- Track your progress
Remember to keep a check on the progress of the habits you have been trying to develop. Cultivating a new habit requires time and patience, lack of which could lead to its failure. Tracking progress not only gives you an idea of the effectiveness of the habit but also motivates you to do better.
- Ask for support
Reaching out for support can be very helpful in developing a habit. It provides a feeling of assurance and company to the person. It pushes them to perform better to meet the expectations of the supporter. Additionally, seeking support can also help you during the demotivation phase. There could be days when you could doubt yourself, talking to a person during that could help.
- Be specific
To develop a habit, you should be specific and completely firm about what you want. That way, it makes it very do-able and will not seem like a tough task.
- Work on one habit at a time
The best way to develop habits is to focus on one habit at a time. In this way you can develop the habit more efficiently. Then you move on with developing your next habit. In this way you can develop many things efficiently in the long run of your life.
- Start from where you are
Start by assessing your readiness to change (or create) a new habit. If you're still contemplating the change and find yourself defending your current patterns and belief systems, you're not ready. To create a lasting behavioural change, you have to first be committed to changing and then prepared to take action to make that change a habit. Start where you are, and go from there.
Developing habits could be a really tough task but it is never impossible. It does require a lot of patience but you’ll surely get along with it if you work it out efficiently.