“If I am to be a creature of habit, then let my habits be good habits!”
I read this somewhere during my quest of self-transformation and I took it to heart. I made many changes in my life while keeping this thought in mind. This quote really did teach me how to develop good habits that last.
We really are creatures of habit. Some of our habits are good habits and some are not so good. We practice our habits until they become a part of our nature. If we wake up every day at the same time, then eventually this will become a habit. We get into the habit of eating the same kinds of food, listening to the same kind of music, and even dating the same type of people.
These are all habits that we have formed throughout our lives. Not all of our habits were developed through our own desire. Our parents, teachers, and other people we looked up to when we were younger helped to form the habits we have to day. Habits help us make our way through life in familiar ways.
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We grow when we step outside of our habits and try something new
I really started noticing my habits when I started to go through the hardest times of my life. When I was broke I couldn’t afford to do some of my habits, which upset me. It took a while, but I finally accepted that those old habits needed to change. Once I did that, I started to notice all the habits that I had that were not helping me in a positive way, so I decided to change those too.
See, Once you get into the habit of changing habits (ha-ha, pun intended) then it becomes easy. The first thing you need to know to learn how to develop good habits is to understand that you cannot stop a habit.
You have to trade an old habit for a new habit
It’s that easy. You have to use intention to change a habit. Notice that we always hear people say they need to change a habit? That’s because deep down inside we already know that we cannot just stop a habit.
I din’t know if you have ever smoked, but a smoker cannot just quit smoking. They start chewing more gum, drinking more water, and eating mints to try to change his or her habit of smoking. Normally an ex-smoker starts eating more and begins to gain weight from this new habit.
Developing Good Habits
So, you are reading this because you want to learn how to develop better habits than the ones you have now, so let’s get to it. First off, pick a habit that you are sure you can change with plenty of practice. Don’t pick smoking or eating sugar as your first habit to try to change. Those are very hard habits.
I am going to use the example of trading the habit of cursing when I speak with a habit that is more positive. The first thing I have to do to is to become aware of the habit and tell myself that I am going to change it.
The next step is to decide with intention to stop myself each time I do the old habit. I may not catch myself thinking about it at this point, but I will notice after I do it. Do you agree that you can do this too?
I will bring it to my attention each time I do it and remind myself that my intention is not to do that. I might even make myself feel bad for letting slip. If that happens I need to remind myself that people make mistakes and accidents happen, but my intention is to change this habit.
After a while of catching yourself, you will notice that you think in advance before you do the habit. You notice yourself thinking about the old habit and then like magic, it happens again. The trick isn’t to intentionally try to stop thinking about it. The trick is to get myself to just never bring it to mind. It might up come up in conversation with a friend, but I will talk about it like it is in the past and not in the present.
I need to trade the habit for a new habit in order to keep it from coming to mind during my normal daily routine. Every time the habit comes to mind or I slip up, then I just remind myself (vocally in my head) that I am going to use better and more polite words when I speak. I have to do this every time: make a mantra of this thought and say it often to myself.
It may take a while to change your habit, but with plenty of practice it can be done. Just don’t give up because… remember, you formed the habit that you are trying to change and you didn’t even think about. Just think how easy it will be to form a habit when you are trying to.
How Long Will It Take To Develop A New Habit?
There is a myth that it only takes 21 days to form a habit. Well, if you truly believe that myth and we understand that belief is reality, then it might be possible to change a habit in 21 days… but that is a myth. The truth is can take anywhere from 66 to 254 days to develop a habit.
Phillippa Lally, a health psychology research University College London, did an experiment to figure out how long it took to form a habit. In her research, she discovered that it took anywhere from 18 to 254 days before the people in her study claimed that the new habits became automatic behavior.
Don’t let this stop you from striving to change your habits. It is possible to do once you know how to develop good habits. I know you can do it because I have done it.
The reason you want to start with small habits is so you can practice for success. Every habit you successfully change will give you the confidence you need to start changing the harder habits you want to change. Just remind yourself daily, “If I am to be a creature of habit, then let them all be good habits.”
==>I would love to hear your experiences, questions, and thoughts about this subject, so please feel free to leave a comment below. I normally respond within 24 hours. Feel free to share this information with anyone you think will benefit from it. Talk with you later, Greg<==