3 Ways to
Make Forming New Habits Easier!
Think of habits as your brain’s specialized Productivity Center! Habits are formed after an activity has been performed at least once and eventually become behavior that is automatic. Think about some of your daily habits such as getting up in the morning to brush your teeth, exercising around the same time everyday, and going to bed at a certain time every night, etc. The first time, or first couple of times, you perform a specific activity, it probably takes a bit of concentration, attention to detail, energy, and brain power to perform. However, once you start to perform any given activity over and over, the amount of mental effort you have to exert becomes less.
There is a ton of science involved in explaining how our minds specifically form habits and is beyond what I am discussing here today. My focus in this post is discussing how forming new habits can lead to personal success for you!
Let’s take smoking for example. It’s difficult for people to break the habit of smoking because there are not many healthy alternatives that excite that same area of the brain that nicotine from smoking does. Smoking and other habits are hard to break because they have become automatic for people to do them without thinking!
Here are 3 Suggestions to start changing your habits today:
1.) Start Small – Start small, with an alternative to the old habit, that is actually achievable. If you want to begin the habit of working out more often, start with just going to the gym or the park 1 day per week for 30 minutes. Do this repeatedly for a couple of weeks until it becomes a new habit, then increase the frequency and/or duration.
2.) Be committed to Repetition – Do you know someone who ALWAYS seems to misplace their keys? Whether it’s you (Yes, you!) or someone else you know, create a place such as a key ring holder on the wall that you place your keys on each and every single time you enter that given space ie – work, home, purse etc. When you come home and are tempted to simply throw the keys on the kitchen counter, resist and remind yourself that you are committed to changing your habit and take the couple of extra steps required to place them in the designated spot.
3.) Have a plan in place to pivot away from undesirable habits to more desirable habits no matter how many times it takes. Example: If you have formed the habit of starting your suggestions in business meetings in a negative tone, know that it is OK to stop in the middle of your sentence, pause for a second and say something like, “Let me start over……….”, immediately correcting that habit and beginning your statement with confidence.
What other suggestions do you have for helping to form new habits?
Dr. Carmen April is a young entrepreneur and community leader recognized as a 2013 Nashville Business Journal Top 40 Under Forty Award Recipient and is a 2014 Graduate of the New Leaders Council Institute – Nashville Chapter. Dr. April is available for speaking engagements on Leadership for College Students and Young Professionals.
You can follow her daily #Leadership insights on Twitter @DrCarmenApril