The real way for you to adopt a new behaviour is to get it into the muscle, so it becomes automatic to do, and uncomfortable NOT to do.
A habit should not require cognitive energy, an internal debate, or a period of time to work you up to it. You just do habits, and you barely notice.
Have you noticed how you brush the hair behind your ear, scratch your face, the order you do things in the bathroom, how you make coffee? If you were to do these all differently, it would feel strange and probably involve much more concentration.
Doing your established habits is easy, your auto-pilot takes care of that. But, changing those habits, or adopting new ones, takes a lot of effort.
It’s said that you have to do a new behaviour nine times before it sticks, or is truely understood. You have to give it time to get inside the muscle, for your muscle memory to figure it out, for your mind to rewire and understand that “this is something we do now”.
Like the Your Turn Challenge, where we needed to adopt the habit of blogging daily to influence shipping things in the rest of our lives, it took effort at first, but for many of us, it has become almost automatic. For me, the thought of not blogging once a day, no matter how small the post, makes me a little uncomfortable. Now, it’s a habit.
So how do you adopt new habits?
I’ll be honest, I’m not perfect, I’m not a master at this. I have some annoying habits and learned behaviours I’m trying to work on. But, I know the mechanics.
Give yourself reminders, or prompts to do that behaviour. Our phones can give us reminders based on location, or time. Useful for the times where you’ll forget you want this new behaviour.
Scripts, or agendas for new routines. Follow the script until you can do without it, and work towards it becoming automatic.
Be honest with yourself that you have failings and that you want to be better. Then make a commitment to yourself.
Understand that there will be times where you’ll want to quit the effort. They are the exact moments where you need to fight a little extra, double down on your scripts, reminders and dedication, and never give up.
Nine times. Do it at least nine times and you’ll have reached the other side of the hump.
Look at me, I’m still blogging every day. I just need to work on everything else.
We are not perfect beings and we are easily led down the wrong paths in life. However, we are all capable of change, but not all of us have learnt the merits of effort equaling change.
If you say to yourself, that’s just how I am. Then that is something you can learn to change. It’s not hippy-dippy nonsense, it’s simply you investing in your life.
There is no better time to change yourself. The Internet has so many resources on this subject, that you cannot argue you cannot learn. Use some of your Facebook / TV time to do some serious learning.
What habits do you want?