Did you have a New Year’s resolution at the beginning of this year? How long did it last? If you’re going strong, excellent! If not, then it may be a good idea to continue reading, to learn how to change your behavior for good.
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Charles Duhigg, author of The Power of Habit defines a habit as, “The choices that all of us deliberately make at some point, and then stop thinking about but continue doing, often everyday.”
If you can make good actions such as eating healthy and exercising regularly, for instance, you will be living a happy life without having to constantly concentrate on it and without having to try so hard to do so.
The Three Parts of a Habit
The three parts of any habit are the cue, routine and reward. The cue is what triggers the desire to do a certain behavior. Cues can be determined by the environment, emotions, and people. The routine is the specific action that results. The reward is the end goal which is often the pleasure or satisfaction that the individual desired. Identify any bad habits you want to curtail and identify these three facets. Cues and rewards are hard to eliminate. In order to break bad habits, the routine must be altered.
For example, I tend to snack at work when I have a desk-work day. I identified my trigger was an urge to simply do something different for a few moments. That cue will continue to arise but now instead of snacking, I’ll do something else like walk around or talk to a coworker when I need a break.
What routine can you alter?
You Have to be Convinced
Forming a new habit is easier when you believe what you are doing is beneficial. If you are doing something just because someone else said you should, it will be almost impossible to maintain it. It’s essential to be self-motivated so you will have the self-efficacy to make lasting beneficial changes.
Willpower is one’s ability to forgo temporary satisfaction for a longer term benefit. It plays a role in initially changing bad habits into good ones. Here’s what you need to know about willpower:
It is finite. That’s why it’s harder to resist a bad behavior such as eating junk food after a stressful day when your use of willpower was called upon a lot.
The good news is when you create a habit you will stick to it no matter what your frame of mind is or how stressed you
are. For example, some people will submit to eating fast food when they’ve had a long tough day. Even if I had the worst day ever, eating fast food would never enter my mind because I haven’t eaten it for over a decade. Try to avoid using your willpower if you don’t have to. For example, if there is a particular junk food you like, don’t keep it in the house. Out of sight, out of mind is so true.
Willpower also builds self-regulatory strength that will trickle into other areas of your life. People often find that when they develop healthy habits other parts of their lives also change for the better. It is crucial to anticipate what difficulty you will face and have a plan for navigating through it. For example, if you will be attending an affair with loads of unhealthy food, don’t go hungry, don’t stand near the food and keep yourself occupied by having conversations.
Have a happy healthy life filled with habits that benefit you and your loved ones.