A few years back I started each day with a cup of coffee and a cigarette.
I smoked up to 1 pack of cigarettes per day and drank at least ½ liter coffee.
Besides drinking a lot of coffee and smoking cigarettes, I was on a crappy diet, basically consisting of chocolate, pudding and fast food.
These were my old habits.
Fast forward to today and I start my days with a green smoothie and a glass of water.
I don´t drink coffee anymore, quit smoking cigarettes and pay attention to eat healthy, fresh, organic foods only.
These are my new habits. My habits didn´t change by accident.
I changed them because I wanted to live a healthier life.
How to form new habits?
Once you know what you want in life the next step is to set goals and then to develop a plan for how to get there.
We humans are easy, we can simply use our habits to reach our goals with ease.
Habits are nothing more than our subconscious behavioral patterns repeated over and over again.
With habits, our brain can function on autopilot and in an energy-saving mode.
Once you establish a habit from there it will happen automatically. Therefore it´s important what kind of habits you establish for your life.
TABLE OF CONTENT
- How we form our habits
- How to form new habits
HOW WE FORM OUR HABITS
According to Charles Duhigg´s book The Power of Habit, we form our habits in 4 steps:
- Cue / Trigger
The cue triggers us to go into a habitual routine. We could be triggered by anything.
By a certain situation or even by just a word or a smell.
The repetition of our routines followed by the cues forms our habits.
Our reward, which can be a positive feeling, then strengthens our habit.
The problem with our habits is, that most of our habits are formed unconsciously and are therefore uncontrolled and often not serving us when it comes to reaching our goals.
BUT once we know what we want, we can make use of the power of our habits and consciously form habits that bring us closer to our goals.
I used to drink coffee and smoke a cigarette every morning. Both habits were intertwined with each other.
I felt that I couldn´t drink a coffee without a cigarette and vice versa.
I established for myself this habit and it was on autopilot. As I started to pay attention to it, I wanted to find out why I need a coffee and a cigarette every morning. I figured out, that I was often very tired and in a rush and therefore stressed in the morning.
The caffeine pushed me awake and I used the cigarette to give me a sort of relaxation. My “reward” was taking my time sitting down and drinking coffee and smoking a cigarette even though I was in a hurry.
Once I saw the cause and pattern repeating itself over and over again I was able to change it and establish a step by step healthy habits instead.
Today I can have the same rewards of taking time for myself, feeling energized and relaxed without drinking coffee and without smoking cigarettes.
Simply by planning my day out the night before and giving myself enough sleep. I start my mornings with a glass of water, yoga exercises and a short meditation.
Then I enjoy my green smoothie instead of coffee and cigarettes. Last but not least repetition is the last step to form new habits with success.
HOW TO FORM NEW HABITS – CONQUER BAD HABITS WITH THIS SIMPLE METHOD
Be aware of your cues and triggers and ask yourself:
- When does the habit you want to get rid of occurring?
- Take out a notebook and make notes about the day and time and the situation, every time it occurs.
- Take also notes about who you are around with and how you feel when your unwanted habit occurs.
Observe your rewards connected to your cues:
- What is your reward for this habit? Do you take a short break or relaxation? Or do you spend time with your friends?
- Make notes why you are possibly doing what you are doing and what your personal reward might be, why you are doing it.
Change your routines connected to your cues:
- You identified your unconscious routines and the cause and reward of your unwanted habit
- Now it´s time to trial and error new routines connected to your trigger and reward.
All tools I mentioned in this post at a glance:
- The Power Of Habit. by Charles, Duhigg teaches you how to get rid of your old unhealthy habits and how to form new supportive habits
Want to learn more about creating your best life?
Check out the post How to reach your impossible goals
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