Are you looking to create a new habit, how good is it going to feel to look back in a few weeks and be proud of your new habit? Perhaps you want to start regular exercise, enjoy wine free evenings, or maybe you want to switch off the computer and get to bed earlier!
There are 7 easy steps to follow that can allow you to establish a new habit, perhaps sooner than you expected and more easily that you thought. A habit is simply ‘a regular tendency or practice’, something that happens automatically. You can’t ‘think’ your way into a habit, you must take action! So if you want to create that new habit, there are a few steps you need to take.
Step #1 to creating a new habit – it may sound obvious…………make a decision! Decide now on your new habit and commit to acting that way whenever that behaviour is required. That might sound like ‘job done’ but it could take a little more than that, so continue to follow through the steps below to really establish your new habit.
Step #2 “Allow no exceptions”! No excuses, no talking yourself out of it. In the early stages of creating a habit, discipline is vital until the action becomes automatic.
Step #3 Tell someone about it! It can be very powerful knowing that others will notice whether or not you’re carrying out your new behaviour! Of course, by telling others, they can support and encourage you too.
Step #4 Positive Mental Rehearsal (PMR). Use your creative imagination and visualise yourself carrying out your new habit, seeing everything happening as you want it to. Visualisation is a powerful tool and the more you picture your new habit, the more easily and quickly the behaviour will be accepted as automatic by your unconscious mind.
Step #5 Positive Affirmation. Create an affirmation about what you want to achieve, eg “It feels great to switch off the computer every night at 9pm”. It doesn’t matter if you don’t actually believe it at the moment, but the more you repeat a positive affirmation about your habit to yourself, the more natural and automatic the habit will become. Remember, you’re not expecting one of these steps to work on it’s own, it’s about putting them all together and seeing the difference they can make.
Step #6 Resolve! Persist, even if it seems too difficult, you’ve come so far now, keep going, how good is it going to feel when your new habit is ‘just something you do’ automatically!
Step #7 Reward yourself! When you reward yourself for practicing your new habit, you reinforce the new behaviour in a really positive way. Rewards forge an association, on an unconscious level, between the pleasure you get from the reward and the behaviour itself. By giving yourself a reward you’re setting up a positive consequence to the new habit and you find that you unconsciously look forward to the reward as a result of engaging in the behavior or habit. All that’s left now is for you to decide on your reward and before long, that new habit will simply ‘be something you do automatically!’