5 Steps To Break Or Make A Habit
Updated: Oct 27
We all have habits. Some of yours may be good and some not so good. I know I have both. I try to eat healthy and only eat whole foods, but I love Coca Cola - no diet stuff - the real thing.
Habits are behaviors that occur almost automatically because we’ve learned them and/or been doing them for some time.
Most of us have a habit we’d like to break, or one we’d like to create.
They say it takes 21 days to develop, or break, a habit.
Here are 5 Steps you can follow to begin developing good habits you may have been trying to create for your life.
1. Set Your Goals
Habits should align with your goals. This will help you determine if you need to break a bad habit, for example. You should also write down your goals. Writing it down helps you to commit.
Some people even have their goals written, printed, and displayed so that they see them every day. It's a visual reminder that helps you stay focused.
2. Decide on a Behavior
If you are trying to stop doing something, then decide on the bad behavior and how you will replace it with something good. If it is to start a new habit, decide on a daily behavior that you need to start doing in order to create the new habit.
3. Learn Your Triggers
Behavior patterns don’t exist independently. Often, a habit is associated with another part of your regular routine. For instance, if you snack when you're not hungry, the trigger may be late night television or reading. You automatically grab a bag of chips while you watch.
For me, it's popcorn when watching movies. I grew up eating an entire tub of popcorn and a bag of licorice whenever I saw a movie in the theatres. To this day, I often grab for a bag of popcorn. To help get myself to stop eating an entire tub of popcorn, I put an appropriate amount on a plate or in a bowl and allow myself only that amount. Many people who smoke automatically light up after eating. Try to start recognizing your triggers and you will more easily be able to change these patterns.
4. Write Daily Affirmations
Write down, and even say out loud, affirmations that speak to your goals or habits you are trying to create. Make the affirmation in the present tense (as if it were already happening), and write it ten times a day for twenty-one days. This will help make your goal become part of your subconscious, which will not only remind you to practice the new behavior, but it also keeps you focused and motivated.
5. Reward Yourself!
It's important to reward yourself for making small steps towards reaching your new habits. If you complete the behavior you setup and wrote down your daily affirmations for say 3-4 days in a row, rewards yourself! Give yourself a treat, but make sure that if your goal of a new habit is something around eating healthy, that the treat cannot be food related. The treat should never be something that will go against your efforts of creating the new habit.
When the Keto dieting phases started some years ago, I had co-workers that all said we would have 1 cheat day each week to reward ourselves. For me, that only got me to crave the bad foods I would have on my cheat day. Rewards don’t have to be big or expensive. Try to make it something that’s associated in some way, in a positive way, with the goal. Doing this will provide you with both incentive and extra motivation.
Follow these steps for 21 days and you'll be surprised how it can change your life. If you stick with it, you can do it. Good Luck!
What systems do you use to track your behaviors? Do you place them on your Calendar in Outlook? Do you write them in a journal?
Or are you looking for a system to help you with your habits and goals?
I'd love to hear how everyone tracks their goals and behaviors to ensure good habits are developed and kept in your life!
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