We are creatures of habit. And that is a good thing. Because habits help us lead our lives. When we do something habitually it almost becomes effortless. We do it automatically and it costs less energy. But some habits we formed over time actually harm us. We should replace them with healthy habits. How do we do that?
Remember your very first driving lesson? How strange it was to put your foot on the gas pedal? And the way your hands were able to turn the steering wheel and move the car? You were probably exhausted when the lesson was over. Driving never felt like that again, did it?
Now think how you got in your car this morning to drive to work. The driving was probably effortless. You didn’t have to think how to accelerate, brake or steer your car. You moved instinctively, without thinking.
That is the power of a habit. It makes our life easier so we can save our energy for the harder things. We save energy for all the new things we have to learn.
We are all the sum of our habits. Our habits form the person we are.
A lot of people develop bad habits over time. Habits like: smoking, drinking and eating too much. Unfortunately these unhealthy habits are just as powerful as good habits. When we have developed a bad habit like that we also do these things automatically. And when we do harmful things effortless, we can seriously hurt ourselves in the long run.
That is why we should take hold of the steering wheel and drive our life in the direction we want. We must start replacing our bad habits with good ones. How do we do that?
Take some time to analyse your day. What are the things you want to stop doing? Are you even aware of them? Things you almost do without thinking, like lighting up a cigarette or grabbing a beer from the fridge. Or being negative all the time when you are at work. It could also be something like: being cynical when you are at home talking to your partner. You will see that, most of the time, the awareness already makes you do it less.
It is also very important to identify the trigger of the bad habit. What makes us be negative? When do we grab that beer? Be aware of the triggers too and try to break the vicious cycle you are in.
Make a plan
Think of what you want to achieve or change. Do you want to write a book? Do you want to feel stronger and be more positive? Or do you want to spend more quality time with your loved ones? Write it down on a notepad or in a journal. Also make sure you don’t start with ten new habits. Try starting with one or two first!
Make a commitment
Look in the mirror and make a commitment to yourself. “I will write a book.” or “I will be more positive.” Also talk about your plans with the people around you. Tell them of the things you want to do or change. That way you will also make a commitment to others.
Start the habit
When you want to write that book you can create the habit to write every day from 6 AM to 7 AM. Or if you are more of an evening person from 10 PM to 11 PM. To become more positive you must try to start banning negative thoughts. Replace them with good ones. Count your blessings. Write down your daily experiences in a journal.
Enjoy your progress
Keep track of your habits. How are you doing? What did you change and how do you feel about that? When you read back in your journal you will gradually see your life change. Hopefully for the better. Don’t forget to reward yourself!