How to form habits that last for life? 5 ways to build strong and rigid habits

 "Depending on what they are, our habits, will either make us or break us. We become what we repeatedly do.", said Sean Covey. Indeed, the habits that we've developed over years of evolution can do potent repair or damage to us. Building or breaking habits, alike, is tough but not impossible. All you need is ingrained will power and a pinch of self-restraint. 

In this article, we shall examine ways how to form habits that you will keep for your life, strong and rigid. Forming good habits simultaneously means breaking the hold of the bad ones. Lets kickoff.

How to form habits 

We, humans, are probably aware of our strengths and drawbacks, good and bad habits too. We are also aware of the outcomes of our habits. Perhaps that's why, we long to inculcate certain habits like getting up early, reading daily, meditation, following a healthy diet, exercising regularly, giving up on junk food, etc into our routine, but fail to do so due to a million reasons. The top one being, mental inertia or laziness. In order to form a habit, it's important to know how to form a habit. Equitable isn't it?

How are habits formed?

The definition of 'habit', according to Britannica is any regularly repeated behavior that requires little or no thought and is learned rather than innate. A habit—which can be part of any activity, ranging from eating and sleeping to thinking and reacting—is developed through reinforcement and repetition. 
If we do something repeatedly, it's just a matter of time before it turns into a habit, inadvertently.

For a random activity to be turned into a habit, there are three stages that need to be passed. First, is the trigger, which makes you do that specific activity. Our brain's reward system operates making us do that activity again, thus paving the way to repetition. Next is the reward, which is the result of the above orchestration. This is known as the habit loop. 

How to form habits and stick to them?

As illustrated above, is the mechanism of every habit an individual possesses. And this elucidates why it is so easy to form bad habits rather than good ones. The former seems more pleasurable and rewarding, while the latter seems oddly bitter. If you could push through temporary pain and reluctance, you can form good habits. As rightly stated by Will Durant, "Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit." There are several ways to stick to your habits, of which some are mentioned below.

1. Writing down the details

Clarity and vision are of utmost importance in this respect. So, to get a better insight, take a pen and a paper and write down all the details akin to the habit you wish to form. Write down the answers to the below questions.
Why do you wish to incorporate it into your life? What outcomes are you expecting out of it? Most importantly, what sacrifices are you willing to make to build that particular habit? 
Be sure to answer these questions. For, the answers to these determine the steps you need to take. Remember that it is important for you to write these details. For, according to psychology, writing down your goals helps you stay organized.
Once you are done with this, move ahead.

2. Early to bed and early to rise

Our brain produces electric impulses often referred to as waves or brain waves. When you wake up early, for the first few minutes, your brain operates at around 10.5 waves per second. The range from 8 to 13 Hertz is called the Alpha wave state. ( Alpha wave state means being calm and composed.) When you wake up your mind is between theta and alpha. This state is like a gateway to your subconscious mind. In this state, your mind is capable of deep and effective learning. And you can focus effortlessly. You can make the best use of this time by impressing on your subconscious mind, optimistic stuff like affirmations, meditation, etc. For the first 20 minutes right after you wake up, your brain functions more actively than the rest of the day. Utilize this time to build the habit you wish.

When you wake up late, you feel dreary and less motivated for the rest of your day. So after 8-9 hours of constant work, you feel so exhausted that you crave other bad habits to relax your mind and rejoice your mood. You eat unhealthy and processed food, spend hours binge-watching, scroll through social media sites, etc. You let these mindless distractors affect your productivity thus making you sleep late and get up late. And this onerously tiring cycle goes on.

But, if you wake up early, you sleep early. You leave no room for unhealthy things in your life. Thus, you can curb bad habits.

3. Start small, stay consistent, and cool

There's a tip that actually works if you're trying to form a habit. Do it ( your habit) every day, at the same time, for just a minute, until you get accustomed to it. Yes, you heard it right. For example, if you want to make it a habit to read every day, do it only for a minute, every day at the same time. It works.

Usually, when people do something new, their intense excitement lasts only a day or two because they work so hard during the first few days that they end up getting trapped in monotony during the rest. This is inequitable. It is significant to stay consistent. It doesn't matter if you work 10 hours the first day and nothing during the second. You got to maintain the same effort.
 And don't be too tough on yourselves if you miss once or twice. I advise you to follow the 80:20 rule. But remember that some goals/habits require more effort than the others. Make sure that you follow your rules/habits regularly.  Start small, grow, evolve, every day, bit by bit. 

4. Say "NO" to procrastination and self-betrayal

In life, one of the biggest problems to deal with is procrastination, delaying things. It is so wicked. It can ruin your life if not dealt with. So, to break free from it, you got to learn to say NO. If you do that, you can definitely push yourself beyond the limits of reluctance. There's an internal enemy, an internal voice, within us, which tries to lure us into doing things we don't want to. Its force feels like a magnetic pull. Say NO to the voice. Decree it to shut up. You control it. Don't let it manipulate you. If you want to do something, do it right now. Don't wait for the right moment. 

There's yet another thing to avoid. And that is self-betrayal. It means placating yourself by letting yourself believe false, self-induced statements. For example, when you are trying to stay fit, no matter how hard you try, junk food keeps attracting you. Giving up on their efforts, people say things to themselves like, 'Oh, it's not that bad for me'; 'Little does no harm', etc. Don't do it. Learn to be sincere to yourself. Stay on track minding no distractions and stick to your schedule.

5. Keep motivating yourselves

There are many ways to stay motivated. Motivation is what keeps you going. Keep saying and repeating positive affirmations to yourself, every day. Any sorts of affirmations, alluded to your desire, which help you be inspired, work best. These have a profound impact on our psyche and the way our brains think and function. When you practice them regularly by believing and accepting the core idea, your subconscious mind corresponds in accord with it. Whatever you consciously think as true, will be accepted by your subconscious mind and will be done unto you. This fact was highlighted in the book the power of your subconscious mind written by Joseph Murphy. Unlike your conscious mind, the subconscious is subjective. 

Take help from friends and family in this process. That would make things all the way easy. Stay away from pessimistic people and things. Don't let them taint your vigor. 

Hope my article, 'How to form habits that last for life? 5 ways to help you out', is of assistance. Subscribe for updates.

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