So, what is a habit?
A habit in this sense is defined as a settled or regular tendency or practise, especially one that is hard to give up. A habit is a routine of behaviour that is repeated regularly and tends to occur subconsciously. It can be a more or less fixed way of thinking, willing, or feeling acquired through previous repetition of a mental experience.
Habits can be good or bad. If you have a bad habit, this involves typically practising and doing things that are negative and possibly harmful to you. A positive habit is regularly doing things that positively impact you and your life, which is what we want to focus on in this article.
What should your habits be?
Habits are personal to the individual who wants to create them. First of all, you need to highlight what habits you want to adopt into your life.
This could be a daily exercise, practising a hobby or crafting something you enjoy. You could start with one habit and build up to it into your own habit portfolio if you wanted to!
How can you break a bad habit?
If you have a negative habit/s that you want to overcome, there are some things you can focus on to get rid of them.
Firstly, you will need to track your current negative habits. You need to highlight when and where these habits happen, is something else triggering the habit?
Highlight to yourself why you want to overcome this habit and what the benefits will be.
You may want someone to help you, such as a friend because they can encourage and support you.
You may want to transform the habit into a positive one; this could be something like replacing bad snacks with healthy ones.
Forming a habit
When forming a habit, it’s best to start small. Think about what your day-to-day routine currently consists of and if you already have any habits, then think about how you can make current practices more positive.
What do you do before and after work? If you usually get up and make a coffee, can you incorporate other acts into this time, such as listening to an educational podcast or doing some yoga?
If you usually put on the TV as soon as you finish work, can you go for a run or play an instrument first instead? This can be more beneficial to your physical and mental health.
The European Journal of Social Psychology showed that the amount of time it took for a task to become automatic (a habit) ranged from 18 to 254 days, an average of 66 days.
The more often you do something, the quicker it will take to become ingrained!
The circle of habit
There are different patterns, templates and resources that can help when forming a habit. One of these is the ‘trigger, routine, reward’.
The trigger could be a location, time of day or a thought. This then triggers the routine (habit), and then the routine (habit) will bring you the reward.
There are long-term and short-term rewards that can come from forming a habit. Long term positives will not be so sudden but will come over time from the nature of the habit.
Long term positives may include better health, happiness, fulfilment, and you may develop new skills or personally develop with things such as confidence or communication.
These will also relate to and be specific to the habits you personally set. If you are learning a particular task, your skill and knowledge of these topics will also be rewarding the more you know and can use them in your day to day life.
In the short term, you may feel more organised, have more time and feel happier.
Conscious to subconscious
You may already have habits that you are aware of or that you do subconsciously.
You will want to make decisions and changes consciously and then become subconscious, where your brain and body will want to do them automatically.
Some ways to create subconscious habits, other than simply repeating the tasks or processes, may include;
Affirmations and telling yourself how the new habit will help you and how it is already helping you and your life.
Visualise what you want to achieve from your new habit.
Don’t put pressure on yourself.
It can take time to change habits, so be kind to yourself!