How to Change a Habit
“A habit is a cable; we weave a thread each day, and at last, we cannot break it.”
– Horace Mann
Habits distinguish between a successful person and an unsuccessful person. Successful people do not have extraordinary talents or extravagant resources; all they have is extraordinary, well-refined habits. Throughout the days, weeks, months, and years – successful people reevaluate their habits. If their habits perverse their beliefs at some point in life, they would not take much time to swap bad & unhealthy habits with the right kind of habits.
From waking up early in the morning to making financial decisions, all depend upon the resided structure within the mind of a person, which we call it a habit. Stated, a habit is something that we do perpetually, and it ingrained in our mind and became normal to us. (1)
If you are to learn driving, at first, you will be besieged by the difficulties with gearshifts, peddles, and clutch. The biggest struggle is to synchronize clutch and accelerator pedals to attain a smooth gear change.
If you put all your wrath you had last night while fighting with your wife on an accelerator without releasing the clutch, your engine will roar as if it involves in some agony and won’t go anywhere. Sometimes cars might juggle on the street due to mishandling with pedals. With the due course of time, it becomes easy as if nothing is happening.
The gear shift, synchronization of the clutch, and pedals become smooth, and we no longer need to stress upon it. This is what habit formation is all about.
How long does it take to break or form a habit?
When it was asked; the prominent answer was that 21 days are enough to change or form a habit. While it may be true for making small adjustments in life, business, and routine – but to change deep-rooted habits, considerable time is required.
Someone is a chain smoker and involved in smoking for 30 long years. Will it take 21 days to change a habit? I highly doubt it, as the habit of smoking is now profoundly entrenched all over his being. The body gets used to nicotine habit. It will take the mammoth struggle to defeat that habit, even after knowing the side effects of excessive smoking.
After 21 or a few days of quitting cigarettes, the temptation will knock the door, and this time, it will knock it more severely than before; it makes the body to crave cigarettes. The hunches become tough to resist. It will happen.
If you have already made your mind that your habit is going to change forever, just after being consistent for 21 days, it will take inner strength and efforts to break the shackles. It requires a realist mindset in breaking a habit because habits take time to break. And New habits take time to form.
Your habits can change, but it would take time to weaken the entrenched roots. Love the process and be ready for the temptations, and make a plan to combat them and win against them.
A wrong Belief
Developing your habits in 21 days look like a scam. If changing habits requires this little effort, then every one of us would become Picasso of it. People with low self-esteem won’t manage to transform themselves within this limited period. It takes months and even years to change belief systems, from a negative to a positive one.
Is there any resistance to breaking or forming a habit?
A possible chance is always there for us to delve into our old futile habits. Somewhere, deep inside our subconscious mind, the traces of our primitive habits reside, and those traces might make scream out loud and might urge us to listen to it.
This could happen when stress levels go high, or some crisis occurs. The newly develop habit might not be sturdy enough to swim against the tides, and it will now take us more effort and energy to get away with the strongest temptation. What is the solution then?
Make a checklist. Astronauts used to have a checklist of every day to ensure the same results. You do not need to think for countable days. Make sure you live every single day with a purpose, then keep repeating the pattern; after sometimes, you will have an impeccable control over yourself, and then it becomes less fatigue to fight against temptations.
A 21-day habit challenge can be a great start towards a change. You have a specific target to achieve, but you must discern that 21 days are not going to change your habits or belief systems, but it will pave the path for the upcoming transformation that you are dreaming.
Yeah, now you can take a challenge of 21 days to be on track with the remembrance that the journey is quite long.
The Golden Rule of Habit change
The successful step-by-step formula has been designed to break any habit and form new meaningful habits. We do not need intricate strategies; for that purpose, a simple approach has been designed for you. You can use this designed template in any field of your life, personal or business. If applied consistently, anyone can change old habits and achieve what desired.
In actual, we do not just change our bad habits, but we replace our bad habits with good habits. Like, I want to sleep early and wake up early to reap the early morning benefits. Not just I make early to bed habit, but I am also giving up on my late sleeping habit.
The bottom line is we do not eradicate habits; we replace it with better habits that create value in our life.
Let’s plunge into the successful habits formula:
1-Clearly Identify your Bad and unproductive habits
Defining the future consequences of your bad habit is vital to eradicate it or swap it with productive habits. One has to think in the broader spectrum of what would have happened if someone does not swap bad habits with productive ones.
Consequences might not come to the surface the next day or the next month, but it will come to dictate terms after a few months or few years.
Smokers never think about future consequences. They will tell you that they are smoking because it gives them a sigh of relief, or say nothing would happen if they smoke 10 cigarettes a day. They are right. But after a few years, their health will start deteriorating.
They will be coughing badly, and their condition keeps on getting worse until they found out their X-ray results are conclusive, and they have a few months to live.
This is the picture of how consequences might be after some years. Keep repeating the effects that might occur if continuing with the same futile habit.
2-Define New Successful habits as vividly as you can
A repulsion will always come amid the transition state, i.e., to change ourselves from one habit to another habit. We have to affirm those habits as loud as we can, and many times a day until we got successful in breaking bad habits and forming good ones. Because when the repulsion comes, it gets tough to negate. It would badger our attention and pull us with more intensity.
We have to tell ourselves the benefits of keeping this new habit. We have to impregnate our subconscious mind with new habits. It takes time and effort before it becomes routine.
From the smoking example, the pull of the bad habit will try to allure the smoker when the subject is stressed because this is the time of CRAVING.
The new habit should provide the same sort of feelings. Like, if a smoker is not smoking cigarettes at the time of stress, then what should a smoker be doing?
A very critical question to answer. The subject has to find something that would replace the CRAVINGS. Once the answers of cravings are found, then changing the particular habit becomes less complicated.
3-The Action Plan
Habit formation means consistency; without consistency, nothing is achievable. For that, one has to come up with a plan. A well-thought-out strategy, where every aspect of a habit should be covered. Like, when will the cravings take place? What are the necessary arrangements? What are the steps required to ensure a successful habit transformation?
The best practice is to make a checklist, as discussed earlier. Write down every necessary step and draw a box in front of it.
Make lots of prints to that paper, or you can have one paper hanging in a place near to you. Go through a list twice a day. Do the tasks as per the checklist. Keep repeating it for a certain amount of days, and after sometimes, it will become your habit, and you no longer need a checklist.
Credit: Pixabay and Unplash power pictures.