“We first make the habits, and then the habits make us.” ~John Dryden
Everything we do on a regular basis is our habits and is also we. Our daily choices of doing things, timing for things, perspective on things, the process of emotions and usage of vocabulary are what make us unique from another. All of this actions, what we call “habits” are results of our reactions we adopted in certain situations.
From the day we were born, we are constantly adapting, improving and changing our habits to get most comfort and security from any situation consciously or unconsciously. The system of building and reacting to habits in our brain is to protect us from a certain situation. There’s nothing wrong in habituated as long as we are aware and in control of our habits. But there are certain adopted reactions labeled as “Bad Habits” get into our system (This kind of habits are like viruses of computer, but is hard to identify at first if there is no conscious filter use while it enters the system, and when it has hacked them system and took control over it the side effects occur), they get in the system as an instant comfort and turns into regrets even before you notice it.
“All bad habits start slowly and gradually and before you know you have the habit, the habit has you.” ~Zig Ziglar
How to identify you have bad habits?
Simple, all habit that does not serve you it an unhealthy one. The habits that you have no control over, make the problem worse and give you a false sense of comfort is definitely a bad habit and you should get rid of it ASAP.
For example: Snoozing the alarm in the morning, it is one of the habits that does not serve you because it gives you a sense of comfort for staying longer in the bed and which results you to hurry for doing tasks of the day, you unconsciously choose to get the comfort first which means you don’t have control over it.
Check your daily habits and identify the bad ones by asking questions like “Does it serve me? If yes, then what benefits do I get from keeping it? If the answer is no, then what are the consequences I have to face if I keep it?”
Why adopt good habits?
Our habits make us. Whatever we do in daily life is based on the actions we chose to keep to make our life productive and comfortable. Keeping and adopting new good habits will make you more proactive than reactive. We will more aware of things happening around us and in bonus we will be able to control our state. Adopting habits that serve you will make you more disciplined and put you away from regrets.
How long it takes to build a habit?
It depends on how determinded you are to build one. We do anything based on two choices, either to get pleasure or to avoid pain. If the reason behind adapting or changing habit is enough strong, you can change it in the moment you decide. But, normally those sudden motivations are not so common that’s why you may have to adopt a habit manually. Surveys say that average time needed to adopt a habit is 21 days.
How to adopt a habit?
Adopting habits are easy if you have enough reason to pull you toward it.
Decide: Identify what you what to change, adapt or improve. Write down exactly what is causing you problems followed by the habit you should adopt to get benefit from it.
Create a Backbone: As I wrote earlier, our actions are based upon either get pleasure or avoid pain. Create a backup list for the habit by two columns stating “Pleasures” and “Pains”. Write down all the pleasures you will get and pains you can avoid by adopting this habit. Read the list often and let your subconscious sense decide what pulls it most to adopt the habit.
Break Patterns: If you are trying to avoid a bad habit, be conscious enough to get yourself at the right moment when you feel you are being controlled. As soon as you get in control break the pattern by doing exactly opposite the habit wants you to do. For example: Let’s think that you want to quit smoking, smoking is emotionally attached reaction; when the person feels or wants to feel certain emotions depends on inhaling smoke (other addictions also work the same way). So as you lit the cigarette, take control (Say it to yourself, “NOW I AM IN CONTROL!”) and throw the cigarette away, take help if you can’t do it alone. It will create sudden shock in your nervous system as you break the usual pattern.
Replacing Patterns: As soon as you break the pattern, replace it with a powerful one. Identify what comfort the previous pattern gave you and try another pattern which gives you more comfort and pleasure instead of pain. As an example: After you throw away the cigarette to break the pattern, try listening to songs instead or do what you think gives you more relaxation (Most people start smoking to feel tension-free or be more focused) than smoking. Practice breaking and replacing pattern to get in control in any habits.
Start small: Make the change you are going to adopt look realistic. Start with small changes.If you want more than one changes in your life, don’t act on all of them at once. Work on one on one to get the best result, and also to avoid overwhelming. If you can’t decide which one to choose first, prioritize them. Identify adopting which one habit will make it easy to adopt other ones and act on it.
Be Consistent: Act on it daily. Take just one minute from your day to practice the new habit. As you get consistent just by acting one minute per day, you will build confidence to move the time scale up.
Take it as an Experiment: When you are adopting a habit act on it as you are experimenting with your life. Apply the techniques differently to get the right way to adopt a habit. We all have different learning requirements, choose the best way which helps you reach your goal. Be flexible and enjoy the process of improving and taking control over your life.
Find a Role Model: It becomes easy if you can find some inspirations who have the life that you want. Learn from their habits, what routine they follow, what are the priorities of their life even the kind of vocabulary they use. Collect as many examples you can and create a hybrid blueprint of habits you want to adopt in order to take control over life.
Write the Progress down: As you are experimenting with adopting habits, regularly journal your experiences and lessons. It will help you to find your learning pattern so that it becomes easier to change or improve habits in the future.
Hope this post was helpful.
If you enjoyed this article and learned something new, make sure to hit the “Like” button bellow which will inspire me to write more posts like this. If you have any questions feel free to ask or if you want to share your experience with changing and adopting new habits let me know them in the comment section. I would love to hear from you.
Happy experimenting with your life! 🙂