Thursday, December 23, 2010
How to form good habits?
Forming a habit is easy. To form a habit all you need to do is repeat the activity. With enough repetitions it becomes a habit. A habit can be formed in a few days, depending on the amount of repetition. The more you do it after the habit is formed, the more reinforcement you give to that habit and the stronger it becomes. Since habits form so easily and they can cause you a lot of problems, you should make sure you are forming good habit when you create it.
All habits start small but end up eventually being very difficult to break. A small thing over a long period of time can have some massive unintended consequences. But it is never too late to change. Regardless of our age or how old the habit has been, this can be done by awareness and using techniques that modify behavior. People quote very often that you can't teach an old dog new trick. We are human beings, not dogs. Neither are we performing tricks. We can unlearn self-destructive behavior and learn positive behavior.
The secret of successful people is that they form the habit of doing things that failures do not like to do and would not do. For example, failures do not like discipline, hard work, or keeping commitments. Successful people also dislike discipline, hard work (an athlete does not like and want the discipline to get up and train every day but he does it regardless), but they do it anyway because they have formed the habit of doing things that failures do not like to do.
You can be successful, but it takes a lot of energy and focus and motivation and it is hard to do that with a lot of habits all at once. It is better to start with one habit, and apply proven habit-change methodology to that habit, and then once that has become a habit, move on to the next habit.
Here are the methods you can use to form new good habits successfully:
Set your own goal and keep it in writing . Write the goals down in simple terms, and post them all around. In your kitchen, bedroom, office, even the bathroom if necessary. Viewing the goals many times a day subconsciously begin to influence you.
Visualize the goal clearly. If you can perfectly visualize the habit in your head, the work will be easier.
Start slowly. If you want to become stronger or faster, choose short exercises at first. Then, make them larger, in order to adapt to the habit.
Give importance to consistency rather than performance. For example, if your goal is to do daily push ups, it's better to start by doing one push up EVERY DAY for a month than by doing 20 push ups for two days and then giving up. After you have done one pushup consistently for a number of days, you have formed the habit. Now increase the number of push ups gradually from there, all the while striving to do some number of push ups EVERY day. Excellence is the result of repeated conscious effort until it becomes a habit. It needs enough practice to become a habit.
Focus. It’s extremely important that you maintain your focus on this new habit for the full 21 days. That is why it is hard to do more than one or two habits at a time — you can not maintain focus. Find ways to bring your focus back to your habit.
Excuse yourself for failures – this is hard work. Falling off the wagon for one week is not a total failure, it’s just a setback. When you fail, ask yourself, “What got in the way of my achieving goal?” Be honest with yourself. Think about the reasons and guard yourself against future occurrences
Positive thinking. This is perhaps the most important element. If you tell yourself that you can do this, that you will do it, then you will. Remove all negative thoughts, and replace them with positive ones. You can do this!
Rome wasn’t built overnight, and you can’t change from being undisciplined, unorganized, procrastinating, unproductive to organize, productive, with a do-it-now habit. Give yourself time to make these changes. But stick to your plan against all odds with determination.