Every one of us is a creature of habit. We tend to wake up at the same time every day, brush our teeth, drink our morning coffee, and commute to work in the same manner. So, why is it so difficult to develop new healthy habits?
What are Habits?
Habits are the small decisions and actions you take on a daily basis. According to Duke University researchers, habits account for roughly 40 percent of our daily behaviors.
Today, your life is essentially the sum total of all your habits. How fit or out of shape are you? A result of how you live. How happy or unhappy are you? Another result of your habits. What is your level of success or failure? A consequence of your habits.
What you repeatedly do (i.e., what you spend time thinking about and doing every day) shapes the person you are, the beliefs you hold, and the personality you project.
Many people struggle with consistency, despite the fact that it is a critical driver of success. Being consistent entails devoting yourself to your goals and remaining focused on the things and activities that will help you achieve them. Consistency necessitates a long-term commitment on your part, as well as sustained effort in repeating actions until you achieve your goals. Staying consistent requires discipline, accountability, and responsibility. Consistency can mean the difference between success and failure. Being consistent can assist anyone in achieving success in any endeavor.
After you’ve established your goals and plans, the difficult part begins: doing things repeatedly and consistently over time. Many people will begin with the goal-setting and plan-making steps, but once they begin doing something, they will abandon it halfway through, if not sooner.
It is critical to mentally prepare yourself in order to develop consistency in what you do. It is critical to remember that long-term goals entail making incremental progress over time rather than catching the big fish right away. To maintain a steady focus, direct your energy and mind to the following things: focus on what is truly important, do things one at a time, and concentrate on the process and execution of the activity. Being present in the moment is critical here. Avoid dwelling on the future outcomes as this will divert our attention away from what you need to do now.
It is important to define the goal you want to turn into a habit. According to research, goals such as “meditate on a regular basis” are too abstract. You’ll benefit from being more specific about what you want to do and how frequently you want to do it.
Don’t say things like, “I’ll meditate on a regular basis.” Say, “Every day, I’ll meditate for 15 minutes.” Having a manageable goal makes it easier to get started and track your progress.
This step is obvious, but it is frequently overlooked. Seek social support. Don’t try to go it alone; instead, seek help. The more people you have to lean on for support, advice, and a listening ear, the better your chances of recovery. Social support is more than just having cheerleaders and people to hold you accountable – though both can be beneficial. Working with a professional to clarify your values and goals in order to create a plan of action to build good habits is a valuable asset.
Having a counselor can take the stress out of trying to change your habits on your own and help you stay on track, whether you hire a mental health specialist or life coach to help you build good habits or any other positive change you want to make. Many have benefited from a PTSD inpatient treatment facility and services where mental health professionals help put you on the right track to develop healthy habits in a safe environment.
Good habits are contagious, so try to pick up some by socializing with people who are ahead of you on the learning curve. It’s important not to get too carried away. For example, training with marathoners when you’re only aiming for a 5K can be discouraging.
However, research shows that finding people to socialize with and emulating individuals who have already achieved what you want to fulfill can make a huge difference. As an added bonus, pursuing your goals with people you like makes it more enjoyable.
Enjoy the Benefits of Good Habits
Anything worth achieving does not happen overnight. We’ve all heard that it’s not about what you do once in a while; it’s about what you do on a daily, consistent, and habitual basis. Obviously, this will require time and effort on your part. Creating (and keeping) the right habits will help you achieve your goals, become the person you want to be, influence those around you, improve the overall quality of your life, and reap lifelong benefits.