What’s your habit telling you?
Whether you’re adding something or getting rid of a habit, it’s often helpful if we decrease the difficulties faced with this new change. For example, let’s say that we’re trying to exercise more. You might want to start with 20 minutes, as opposed to an hour and a half. This way, you will be more likely to continue exercising on a regular basis. On the days that you are tired, an hour and a half of exercising might seem too overwhelming, but 20 minutes may seem more manageable.
There’s a reason that we as a species have been alive as long as we have been. We’re focused on survival. Think about how your habit is helpful. Let’s say that the habit that you’re changing is watching less TV. Maybe watching your favorite show is something that you look forward to or allows you to relax after a long day. You might turn to it because it takes no effort. There’s always something under the surface. What you’re really yearning for is something that requires little effort because you’ve worked too many hours or you don’t enjoy your job. Or maybe TV gives you that time to yourself. Whatever you're seeking, see how you can get in that relaxation another way. This could be putting your phone on airplane mode or spending time with friends.
Decrease the pain that you’ll endure:
There’s a reason that habits are hard to change. They’re familiar. They’re comfortable. It makes it easier to function when we have routines. Otherwise, we’d have to think about every action throughout the day.
When we have so many options, we might get stuck in analysis paralysis. Instead, we need to simplify the process so that we don’t give ourselves the chance to get out of the task related to your goal. Let’s say that you want to leave the house earlier, but making breakfast always slows you down. Maybe this means that you have a yogurt or prepare your breakfast the night before. You have no other choice but to get the yogurt from the fridge and you can possibly leave five minutes earlier.
Because it’s challenging to change our behaviors, we need spaces that reinforce what we’re doing. We need all the affirmation that we can get. Congratulate yourself by recording every time that you complete a task related to your goal. Join an online community with others that share your common goal. We need that positive feedback and understanding from others when we’re making these changes. Tell your friends about your goal and share about your progress.