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Three steps to creating lasting habits

Updated: Sep 3

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One of the hardest things it would seem, is to create a new habit and of course it is. Trying to train yourself to perform a new and lasting behaviour can go against everything you have learnt so far in your life. Hence 'start them young' is such a popular turn of phrase. A good example of this would be diet (not dieting, that would be be a load of crud), if you have eaten one way all your life then not only are you trying to change that but you are trying to beat all the addictions to the old diet that goes with it such as processed sugars.

So what is the best way to start a new diet? First off, you have to want to. Ever tried quitting smoking but failed after a day or two? Normally you find a reason to go back and a solution for the failure. "It has been a really hard day so I just need this one but I can always quit again tomorrow so it isn't a real failure". Translated, your reason for wanting to quit wasn't strong enough so find a new reason to quit.

Now this isn't a bout quitting smoking or changing your diet, there are plenty of organisations that can help with that, this is more about mind set.

Step one the reason to change a habit or start a new habit must be emotional, not logical. Anything you can logically explain you can logically explain away. Emotions can not be argued with, they can not be talked down and they can not be reasoned with and so are stronger than any logical reason to begin a new habit.

Step two, get it done. Decide what it is you are doing and commit to it, big time. This doesn't mean the habit has to big but your commitment to it does. You want to get up earlier every morning to create time in your day to be more productive then great. Start by getting up 15min earlier than normal and make sure nothing gets in the way of that. Hungover? Tough, you made a commitment to get up early.

When looking to do exactly that I came across a brilliant book by Hal Elrod called miracle morning and I would like to share with you what helped me. Hal explains that new habits work a little like this:

Days 1-10 it's going to be the worst thing you ever decided to do and you will hate it.

Days 11- 20 it's beginning to get easier but not really enjoying the process as much as you would like.

Days 21-30 at some point in these days (usually around day 22) you not only start to enjoy the new habit ( Hal used running in a morning as an example) but you may even catch yourself looking forward to the next time you get to perform that habit such as not smoking after meals.

The last Step to creating this habit is celebrate. Even if this is something small, be sure to pat yourself on the back. DON'T MESS UP THE CELEBRATION. The number of times I hear people deciding to celebrate a work-out by having a chocolate bar is alarming. It's like celebrating not smoking for a week by cracking open a packet of smokes. Don't be an idiot.

So how long does it take to get a habit sorted? 20-30 days of daily practice, longer if it's a weekly habit like piano lessons etc.

Good luck and farewell.


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