Let us talk about the formation of new habits. We all have times in our lives when we deliberately want to change our behavior for the better and acquire new habits. This could be the habit of eating more healthily and drinking more water. Or it could be that we get more exercise and take the dog for walks every day. Or it could be work-related or spiritual, or… There are so many areas in our lives that could be improved and made easier if we adopted new habits.
Getting used to doing something is often easier said than done. Bad habits seem to be acquired without any effort, but it can be a bit more difficult to get into a “good” habit.
Let’s break it down into a three-step process that makes it easy to follow until we have internalized the new behavior and made it into a real habit – something we do automatically without having to think about it, like brushing our teeth.
Decide what you want to do
The first step is to decide what this new habit should look like. Be as specific as possible. Do not just tell yourself that you want to practice more. Instead, say something like: “I will walk for 30 minutes every day”. Deciding what your new habit will be and committing to when and how you will do it is half the battle.
Remind yourself to do it
The next days should go smoothly. You are motivated and excited to achieve this. Holding on to your new habit is no problem. But after a few days, you will realize that it is easy to fall back into old habits.
Maybe it’s raining and you don’t really want to go out and take a walk. Or maybe you just miss the day. Then it is important to be reminded every day. Set an alarm on your phone or add the new habit to your daily task list for a while.
Make it part of your routine until it becomes a habit
This brings us to the last step. It takes some time until a new behavior becomes a real habit. Until then a routine will work to your best advantage. Even before the new behavior becomes automatic, a routine will help you get it done without having to use a lot of willpower or rely on daily reminders.
Make this daily walk a part of your after-dinner routine, or switch from a snack at the vending machine at work at 10:00 a.m. to packing a healthy snack.
Congratulations! If you decide to create the new habit, practice the routine until it becomes second nature, and you are well on your way to developing a new good habit.