9 days in and a new week ahead of us!
By now, you might have started to build some habits from following the 21 Day Challenge.
Maybe you check in on the facebook group every day, or read these posts every day.
Maybe you have started a regular exercise routine.
Our habits are those often small, repeatable things we do without thinking too much.
Often we don’t even decide or debate to do them, they are just part of our day.
Like brushing our teeth or making the bed.
There are no ‘bad habits’, but they can be unhelpful if they are not taking us in the direction of our goals.
Changing our habits can feel a bit hard, but luckily science has stepped in to help us with it.
So today, I encourage you to review your habits and consider which ones are not aligned with where we want to go in life or who we want to be.
Each little habit we have compounds into our entire life.
Change your habits, change your life.
So, how do we change our habits?
Here’s what the latest science is telling us about how our human brains work.
There’s a lot more, but here’s some places to start.
1. START SMALL AND FOCUSED
So small, it might feel silly. If you want to get up earlier, start by getting up 5 minutes earlier for a week. Then 5 minutes more.
If you want to start running every day, start by walking 5 minutes a day. Or jogging for 2 minutes a day.
When we go all out and change every single habit all at once, nothing sticks. So just choose one habit at a time and start super small.
2. REMOVE THE BLOCKERS
I personally do this one with EVERYTHING. Make it as easy as possible to achieve your tiny, focussed habit change.
– If you want to go to the gym, make it at a time you can keep, get your gym clothes ready the night before, even have your socks next to your shoes. Keep petrol in the car and have your breakfast ready on the table.
– If you want to read more, have the book there, ready, in your favourite reading place.
You can also increase the blockers to help break the habits you want to reduce. Increase the difficulty of satisfying an urge.
– If you want to stop snoozing your alarm, keep your phone out of the bedroom.
– If you want to cut down on tv, switch it off at the wall and put the remote in another room.
– If you don’t want to eat chips, don’t buy chips with your shopping. Don’t have them in the house.
3. PAIRING YOUR HABITS
We naturally pair our habits in both helpful and unhelpful ways.
– When I watch a movie, I want a snack (even when not hungry).
– I always have wine with dinner
While humans are pretty smart, we also have some basic animal instincts that we can learn to manipulate for good!
– When I walk on the treadmill, I get to watch my favourite tv show on my phone.
– When I go for a walk on the beach, I call my best friend
Habits can also be ‘stacked‘ (eg. after x I will do y) . For example;
– After I brush my teeth, I will meditate for 2 minutes
– After dinner, I will brush my teeth
These are three simple and easy to approach ways you can start to make small changes in your life.
If you’ve ever aimed to make major changes on a Monday or the 1st of the month, and then wondered why they don’t stick, you’re not alone. It’s the way our brains work.
Our habits are stubborn, we’ve taught our brains over many years to do one thing and you can’t change it over night without a lot of ‘willpower’ – and willpower is mentally exhausting.
It’s not sustainable.
So many small, consistent changes to your habits and your life will slowly, but surely, go in the direction you want it to.
Remember, consistency compounds.