Habits = unconscious behavior. Forty percent or more of our daily activities = habits (2006 Duke study). Habits save the brain from work. They require far less brain processing power and utilize far less glucose (brain fuel). Habits exist to make the brain function more efficiently. So habits are intended to be beneficial. Unfortunately, most of us have bad habits. The definition of a bad habit is one that:
- Impairs our health (smoking, alcohol consumption, couch potato, eating junk food or too much food etc.)
- Makes us poor (gambling, not saving, credit card abuse, spending too much)
- Damages relationships (speaking your mind and hurting others feelings, not controlling your emotions, not staying in touch regularly with relationships, letting people down)
- Makes us unhappy
- For more go here: http://richhabits.net/rich-habits-books/
In order to want to change a habit you have to become disgusted with yourself. Until that time, you won’t change anything. Disgust triggers habit change. It’s a line in the sand that you cross at some point. I am assuming if you are reading this you are either one of my highly treasured friends or you’re disgusted with yourself. There’s a hard way (self discipline) and an easy way to change your habits. If you are disgusted with yourself, I have some great news. I’m going to share with you the easy way to change your habits.
The 4 Step Approach to Habit Change:
- Habit Awareness: Track your daily behavior for one day during the week. Don’t pick a weekend day. Pick a work-week day. Work creates stress and stress triggers bad habits. Carry around one sheet of paper and bullet point everything you do from the minute you wake up to the minute you go to bed. You are actually going to like this exercise, trust me on this.
- Habit Tracking List: From your list, identify every activity that = a daily habit – good or bad.
- Habit Wish List: On a separate piece of paper, make a list of every good habit you want to add.
- Habit Merging: Select one habit from each of your lists and merge them into one new joint habit. It doesn’t matter if you are combining a bad habit with a good habit or a good habit with a good habit. For example: Let’s say you have an existing good habit of exercising on a stair master. Layer onto this existing good habit a new good habit of listening to educational audio books or educational podcasts while you exercise. Let’s say you have an existing bad habit of drinking too much coffee. Layer onto this existing bad habit, a new good habit of drinking one glass of water. Every time you reach for a coffee you reach for a glass of water.
According to that Duke study I mentioned above it can take up to 256 days for a new habit to form. But you’re not forming a new habit. You’re co-opting an existing habit. This accelerates habit change dramatically. It only takes one or two good daily habits to change your life for the better. Success in life is about doing certain things every day that others don’t do. It’s the little things that make a difference and cause success to happen. Small, seemingly imperceptible changes, over time, can dramatically improve your life.