Each of us have habits that affect how we move through our days. Whether it’s prepping our coffee makers the night before, exercising at the same time every day, loading the dishwasher a certain way, or just how we get ready for bed every night. These actions have become automated—our subconscious takes over and we don’t think about performing them anymore.
Because most of our habits were formed without much thought, the challenge so many of us face is how to create intentional new habits. We try to get into an exercise routine, but our strong start fades out. We decide to read before bed instead of binging shows, but eventually we let our tiredness overtake us. We plan on packing a lunch for work every day, but then opt to eat out instead—it’s just easier. Is there really any hope in creating a new habit that will last?
Just because you haven’t been successful in the past doesn’t mean you can’t be successful now. You need the right tool. You need the Habit Loop. Here are the four steps of the Habit Loop to help you create lasting habits.
1. Create an activation trigger
Set up a natural cue that will remind your subconscious of what you want to make happen. For example, if you want to journal every night before bed, leave your journal on your nightstand every morning.
2. Think through your response
This is the behavior you want to become second nature or automatic. What do you want to see happen? To get there, you’ll want your activation trigger to naturally elicit your desired outcome without having to put too much thought into it. By reducing the amount of thinking that goes into it, you’re able to enjoy what you’re doing more fully, or free your thoughts for other things.
3. Focus on the reward
By thinking about the feeling you’ll have or the end result from creating this habit, you position yourself for success. Keeping the final goal in sight will serve as a motivation to continue pushing forward, especially on days when you want to take a break or call it quits.
4. Keep doing it
Repetition is key to installing a new habit. You have to keep at it. Don’t beat yourself up if you miss a day or flub on an action. That will likely only make you miss another day. Instead, get right back at it if you fall off. Even if what you’re trying to do feels difficult or tedious, it’ll eventually get easier and more natural. Give yourself 60 to 90 days before the habit truly sticks and becomes second nature.
It’s never too late to begin a new habit. But creating habits that last takes time. So don’t let the process discourage you or pile on unnecessary stress. Sometimes new habit endeavors fail because people give up too soon. Trust the process and keep working through the steps of the Habit Loop.
What new habit do you want to create, and how can you stay on track?
Last modified on October 10th, 2022 at 9:27 am
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