How to Create a New Habit

Rich Habits

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The two simplest, most effective ways to help you forge a new habits are #1 Baby Step Approach and #2 Association Approach:

#1 Baby Step Approach

Devote no more than 10-15 minutes every day to the new habit. The brain will not fight you, if you cap the time to 15 minutes. Go beyond 15 minutes and the brain will begin to put up a fight.

Why does the brain fight us on creating new habits?

Creating any new habit requires the creation of a habit synapse. A habit synapse is very much like building a bridge inside the brain, connecting two areas. In this case, you’re connecting groups of neurons that are lighting up, every time you engage in the new activity.

It takes energy (glucose) and effort for the brain to build these synapses, so the brain doesn’t willy-nilly allow for the creation of new synapses. It has to be fooled into building the synapse bridge. You do this by building that synapse bridge very slowly, each day. Baby Stepping keeps the synapse-building below the radar of the brain’s awareness.

After about two months, the habit synapse will be forged and each day you engage in the habit, strengthens that synapse – the brain cells connected by the synapse bridge will move closer to each other and grow bigger.

After two months you can devote more and more time to the habit. The brain won’t care because the habit synapse is already built.

#2 Association Approach

Habits spread like a virus throughout our social networks. So, the key here is to begin associating with people who have the habit you desire. For example, if you want to exercise, start going to a gym. Once again, use the Baby Step Approach and only commit 10-15 minutes each day to keep the brain from fighting you. After two months, not only will the new habit synapse be formed, you will also likely begin to build relationships with other gym members. As those relationships grow, they will infect you with their exercise habit, further strengthening your exercise habit.

Tom Corley is an accountant, financial planner and author of “Rich Kids: How to Raise Our Children to Be Happy and Successful in Life”, “Effort-Less Wealth”, “Change Your Habits Change Your Life”, “Rich Habits Poor Habits” and “Rich Habits: The Daily Success Habits of Wealthy Individuals.”