Stuck in a rut, doing the same thing over and over again. Have you ever found yourself caught with a habit you don’t want but it feels almost impossible to break? You’re not on your own. Our habits shape our lives. But why is it so slow to shift a habit and why does it have to be so darn hard? We are creatures of habit whether we like to admit it or not. We have to be. It’s how the human race survived over all those hundreds of thousands of years. We learn by taking in our environment and through repetition, so our minds are literally wired to create and maintain habits. That’s why it’s so hard to break one. We don’t break habits we replace them. That’s important to know.
If you want a new habit, there are two things to do to make it much easier. That’s because you work with how your brain naturally operates, so you don’t need to dig deep and try muster up will power. We get exhausted when we have to keep tapping into will power to make things happen. So, here are the magic ingredients to shift habits. Let’s say you want to start reading more books. You know it’s good for your brain to read more and it’s so much fun to expand your world through the magic of the written word. Whether it be for pleasure or business. First change your environment. To do that in this example of reading you may pick a spot where you don’t normally sit to pick up a book and read. This is an important step and shouldn’t be missed. It’s important because your brain hasn’t yet made a specific association with that spot and what activity you do there.
The second thing to start your new habit is to do the activity in small steps. For reading, you may choose to read one paragraph. You may be tempted to read more but I encourage you to take it slow. If you go too far and read several pages or chapters, you’ll experience a jolt to your system, and you won’t be able to sustain the pace. Attainable and sustainable are keys here. Only do as much as feels easy. That way you feel good and you’re making progress. Now do that each day or each week. Whatever frequency you choose it helps to be consistent to form a new habit.
Voila! Your new habit is on its way. You may be tempted to start this with a whole lot of different areas in your life, don’t. If you take on too much you won’t sustain it. Remember it must be attainable, that is you can do it easily with little effort. Sustainable is where you can repeat the same pattern again and again without being thrown off course. These two steps can be used to change any habit. Be sure to give yourself a high-five each time you take a small step.