How to build a new habit
The 30-day rule
How to build a new habit in 30 days? You probably heard the best way to create a new habit is to repeat that action for thirty days. If you can do that, eventually you will have ingrained the behavior deep enough that you cannot stop it. Is this true? Theoretically, thirty days would be enough to rehearse an action long enough for it to take hold.
It is this a magic number? It is very arbitrary. There is no reason why doing something for thirty days should be better than doing something for 29 or 31 days. While this idea has anecdotal evidence: based on research, this appears to be accurate and if you can develop a new behavior during this time, you ‘re going to be at least on the right track.
This also makes getting started a bit easier. If you know that you need to exercise first thing in the morning for only thirty days, then it may be easier to digest it than thinking, that you need to do it permanently.
Are you having trouble flossing every day, even just for those 30 days? So, in that case, you might want to try using something called ‘micro habits ‘. The idea of a micro habit is essentially to hack the 30-day trial by finding a way to maintain your habit during that time much easier and then extrapolating the results.
Micro habit means turning your planned new habit into something that is extremely easy and simple to accomplish. For example, your objective now could be to only floss one tooth and use thread dental tooth in a different one every night. There should be no difficulty in accomplishing it. But just like with a ‘full-size’ habit, you should find that this micro habit takes deep root after a while and that it will eventually become easy for you to stick with it. Now all you have to do is extend that habit to floss all your teeth!
A more realistic version of this could be if you wanted to write a novel, in which case you could aim to write just one line per night. In the same way, if you want to be fit, you can try to do only 20 pushups every day.
This works best if what you’re doing is still useful in its own right. For example, if you only did 20 push-ups, you would still notice some improvement. Similarly, writing just one line per night would eventually lead to a complete book.
Try to avoid a scenario where you can see and feel that your micro habit makes no sense.
The best thing about micro habits is that, early on, you’ll find that sometimes you end up doing more. For example, if you’ve set a goal of doing 20 push-ups, you’ll often find that you end up doing an entire workout either way – the hardest part is just getting started!
Most importantly, however, you have the option to use the micro habit by default. The important thing is that you keep this part of your routine, not as much as the habit itself (for now!).
Another tip to create a new habit is to try to attach it to your old habits and environment.
In other words, if you want to create the habit of flossing, then a good option is to attach it to a habit that you already meet as brushing your and teeth!
In the same way, if you want to get in the habit of ironing your shirts, choose a specific point of the day like making tea in the morning.
This works because it connects the new with the old behavior within your brain. You have a network of neurons that is activated every time you make your morning tea. Now when that network of neurons kicks in, they should also make the new network, the shirt press network turns on. The two are connected.
This also works on a practical level: need to find a convenient time to develop your new habit and must find a convenient time and place to do it. And you should know that this time and place will always be convenient. You always need to be able to train right now, in this place.
I wanted to start meditating as a regular part of my routine a while ago. I struggled at first because there always seemed to be more important things to do and I could never find the right opportunity. So, what I did was attach my meditation session to my training session. I already was exercising 3 to 4 times a week, so all I did was include my meditation immediately after exercise. I meditate just 5 Minutes. That is a micro habit that would never take me too long and I would always be in the right place to practice it.
Keeping an environment is important since everything in its periphery can help foster your habit. So, when trying to break a habit, the advice is always to immediately change the environment. If you’re trying to quit alcohol or drugs, for example, one of the first things you need is to stop hanging out in the same places and with the same people. These have been associated with habit and they are now the ‘ triggers’. But if it’s a good habit, triggers are a good thing!
The power of routine
An action is a habit, but if you join them, then you have a routine. I recently mentioned the practicality of joining habits and knowing where you will be and at what time it will be when you do it. This is incredibly important for achieving the goals and, if you can create a routine for you that contains many good habits, you will discover this greatly increases your chances of success in all areas.
For example, if you are starting a new training program, you should know exactly when you will exercise and where. If you simply say that you are going to train “five days a week,” then this is not enough—you will put it off, and forget about it, or feel too tired.
Instead, look for a space on your routine where you can always have this space. For example, the best time for your training might be after you have left your wife at the station in the car. If you do this every morning and the gym is right next door all you need to do is walk with everything you need to train.
The fact that you are already traveling means there is no extra time on the journey.
Similarly, if you want to eat a healthy diet, you need to identify when you are going to prepare your food and how you are going to eat it.
Create a routine is a powerful way to achieve your objectives. But don’t forget that the value of life comes from mixing things up and trying new things. Don’t let yourself back down or you’ll start to atrophy and stop growing. Habits help you get where you want to go, but don’t forget to enjoy every moment.
Developing or changing a habit can be intimidated. This post can get you started but need more than this to make happen. Find more resources in Self-discipline 365