We all develop good habits as well as bad habits. Research has shown that habits make up 40% of our day-to-day life. To understand our habits in more detail, a way to recognise a habit is something that you do that is automatic. Most times however, we don’t always notice habits in our own behaviour, but find it easier to observe them in other people!
The science behind how it works is that we all find patterns of behaviour that allow us to reach goals. We then repeat what works for us. When these actions are repeated in a situation that is successful, we form links between cues and responses. This then becomes a habit.
If you have a habit you want to change, you will need to bring your willpower into play. Unhealthy habits could include working too many hours for example. It takes approximately 3 weeks to form a new behaviour and 9 weeks of repetitive behaviour to turn it into a habit. In a very simplistic form, your rational upper brain vs your pleasure seeking lower brain. Most times your lower brain will win, unless you bring your willpower into play. ‘Hot’ decisions tend to be emotional decisions, and is generated by the lower brain. The rational brain however, is more likely to use ‘Cold‘ decision making.
In wanting to change a habit,
rather than let your lower brain come into play,
here are my tips!
- Set your goals, decide on what behaviour or habit you want to change, and stick to it. Having set goals that are written down will give you a path, a direction to follow. List your goals, keep them in your vision, in your sight line. You can’t achieve a goal unless you are focusing your effort onto it. Visualisation is a positive outcome. But also think about the steps you need to take in order to get to where you want to be.
- Relaxation is crucial for willpower to succeed. If you are feeling stressed, or under pressure, you tend to let old habits back in as your resistance is low. If you relax and are calm, you are more likely to have stronger willpower. If you are rushing around and your breathing is becoming more shallow, this will reduce the amount of oxygen you take in.
- Count your breath for one minute. 10-12 breaths is an average breathing rate. By checking your breathing rate, you can consciously make an effort to breathe more slowly and take fewer breaths. Try to do this every day.
- Change your attitude to ‘Can Do’. Stop the negative thoughts and focus on the positives — your strengths. If you think that you are doing well and making a positive effort, you will continue to do well. Have an optimistic viewpoint and get into the habit of thinking positively.
- Pause, stop, think about what you are doing and distract yourself before falling back into bad habits.
I would be very interested to hear how you have got on. Tell me what you think by posting your comments below. Why don’t you Share this with your friends and family by clicking the Facebook icon or following us on Twitter?
About the Author: Carole Langman works behind the scenes at Bowerland Cottage Holidays and Devon Dogs as the Business Manager. Her office is always a hive of activity, and with the vast amounts of work Carole has, we never really know how she gets through it all! To unwind, she loves gardening, hikes around Bowerland, travelling and writing.