The outcome of our life is largely dependant on habits. The things we do without really thinking about them, often daily. Habits can be incredibly useful; by being able to carry out tasks without them taking up continuous space in our brain we are free to give our attention to other things. The trouble is that not all our habits will lead us to the outcomes that we say we want. You don’t need me to tell you that a sedentary life style created out of habit is less likely to lead to a healthy old age than an active one.
So what can we do about it? Well firstly if everything in your life is going perfectly then don’t change it! If however you have habits that you know don’t serve you or there is something that you would like to do and you know that you would like to create a habit of doing it then this month we are going to share some ideas with you that will help.
Create an alternative
If you want to give something up, then you need to create an alternative. If you are trying to stop yourself doing something you need to give yourself something else to do at the very moment you would normally do “the habit”.
The way to create a habit is to: C H O O S E (S)
Keys to creating habits successfully
1. Commit. Decide that you are going to make this happen. This is where the juice is you absolutely committing to yourself that this is going to happen. (If you have made this commitment before and are really stuck or know something inside of you keeps stopping you at this point, hook up with one of the many coaches on our facebook page).
2. How are you going to be and feel when this habit is in place and established. Spend a little while picturing that, being in that space, seeing what you see, hearing what you hear, feeling what you feel. Enjoy this moment.
3. Outcome – know your outcome or your why. Having pictured what it is going to be like you will have a sense of why you want to do this. If you want to change something have a really strong why – know how you will benefit and what you really want. Don’t do something because you or someone else think you “should”.
4. One simple change and stick to it. Don’t try and change loads of things at once. I make rules for myself “I walk everyday” or ”I don’t eat X”. Start with one, and as time goes by your success will enable you to add in something else when the first thing has become a habit. Success fuels success so give yourself the best possible chance of success.
5. Specific- be specific. If you want to do some form of exercise, know exactly what, and exactly when. If you leave space for decision making or procrastination, it is much less likely to happen. “I am going to swim on my way home from work on Tuesday” is much more likely to happen than “ I am going to swim once a week”.
6. Easy – Make it easier to do than not to do. If it is some form of exercise leave your kit where you will stand on it if you forget. Leave a note on your steering wheel. If you want to do some painting everyday leave your paints in a place that you see them. If you are about to practice your guitar leave it by the sofa so you don’t even have to get up to get it! Tell other people that you aren’t available at 5:30, having to admit to someone else that you haven’t done what you intended can add the incentive to do it.
7. Shout about it! Acknowledge your achievement. When you have done something you set out to do, notice it. Pat yourself on the back, feel good about it. Just as you do with young children, notice the behaviour you want and congratulate yourself.