Habits are small decisions you make and actions you perform every day. According to researchers, habits account for about 40 percent of our behaviors. Even the simplest of our behaviors are results of internalized thoughts and actions that unconsciously became a pattern through repetition. How your life looks today is essentially the result of your habits.
People do not decide their futures, they decide their habits and their habits decide their futures.
What you repeatedly do ultimately forms the person you are, the things you believe, and the personality that you portray. Everything starts with healthy habits. When you learn to transform your habits, you can transform your life.
Why is it so difficult to change habits?
Because the neural pathways established as a result of the habits we build never get deleted. Those pathways are always there for us in case we need to go back and use those same ways again. For example, they help us in the many simple and automatic daily tasks we do such as walking, talking, running, and eating. We don’t need to stop and think about how to eat or walk.
How to change habits?
When you create a habit, your brain creates new neurological pathways allowing you to apply those habits more easily. The best way to change your bad habits is to start by observing yourself, become aware of your repetitive thoughts and actions, self-reflect, identify the behavior, and make changes, bit by bit.
- Take responsibility and look at the excuses you make.
- Have achievable goals like starting with 1 small thing you want to change.
- Be gentle with yourself, too much self-criticism and self-judgment will demotivate you and make it only harder.
- Be curious about why you have the habit.
These questions can help you get more clarity:
When did the habit begin, or when do you first remember doing it? Has it changed over time?
When and where do you typically engage in the habitual behavior?
How are you usually feeling when the habit occurs?
Does your behavior affect other people or facets of your life?
What does the habit do for you?
How happy (or unhappy) are you as result of your habits, or what are the rewards.
It might take you 30 days to create a new habit, but that habit could change your life for the next 30 years.
Everything you change now will affect your future. There is no wrong step. The trial-and-error process is an inherent part of changing your habits for the better.
The process can be so difficult. Try to stay true to yourself. Slowly but steadily, you'll notice a rewarding change in the quality of life.