Have you ever wished that you were a morning person? Or that you didn’t NEED that 3pm coffee fix in the afternoon? Maybe you’re hoping that one day you’ll crave exercise as much as you crave chocolate? (In a perfect world… right?)
Or maybe you’re like me, and are hoping for #alloftheabove. If genies existed, I’d rub my lamp immediately and wish for these three things, because they’re habits that I’m currently trying to break. The other day I had an epiphany about habits. Instead of focusing on the doom and gloom of the bad ones that are just so damn hard to break, I decided the best thing to do was to create some sparkly new ones instead (from a girl who is more night owl than early bird – this is a challenge – but one that I’m willing to rise to).
In terms of habits, it’s a widely accepted theory (out there in the cosmos of Google) that you have to do something roughly 21 times, or for 21 days in a row for it to become a habit and for your mind to accept the new practice as part of your usual routine. Brushing your teeth, showering, making breakfast… these are all habitual activities that we don’t really think about too much. We might not enjoy doing them all, but we make sure they get done (I’ve never understood those people who ‘forgot’ to eat breakfast).
So, how do you turn a hope into a habit? How do you make that morning jog habitual? How do you start becoming who you want to be by doing all the things you want to do?
For me, personally, forming a new habit involves a completely different manner of self-talk.
Instead of saying “I have to get up early to go for a jog”, I think to myself, “it’s ME TIME! Let’s go!” I’ve had to form a different idea around my jog and focus on the reasons why I love it. I’m only allowed to think about those reasons, no negative thoughts allowed!
I think it’s also important not to force yourself, but to encourage yourself! If you truly want to make a habit, then you will have to find a way to love it, or at least enjoy it somewhat. Instead of trying to break bad habits all the time, we need to focus more of our energy on creating good ones to replace them.
Instead of trying your best efforts to avoid that 3pm coffee fix in the afternoon, why not implement something else to do at that time instead? Go for a walk around the block, have a glass of lemon water, do some stretches. Don’t just sit at your desk exercising an extreme case of caffeine-craving willpower – exercise something else & change your habit.
On my quest to break several bad habits, I am learning that some of the best habits are formed by taking things day by day & staying focused on the end goal. Remind yourself why you started. It’s not always about whether you do something 21 times, 100 times or 365 times, if you want something to be habitual, you have to WANT to make a habit out of it.
Above all, don’t just try to break a bad habit. Create a shiny new one!