Forming new habits

Today we look at how to form new habits to replace old ways of thinking, feeling and acting.

Here are four things crucial to forming new habits:

  1. Repetition – This is what builds the stronger neural pathway in your mind. You have to do the new behaviour more than the old. This starts to build a new default path for your mind. So repeat the new habit consistently for three weeks and you are well on your way.
  2. Value your progress – Take a look at how game and app developers keep you engaged – rewards, levels ups, reminders, motivations. Game developers are experts at helping their customers build new habits – namely to stay engaged with their product. Games have features which tell you about your progress and achievement and if you falter the game will send you notifications and offers to entice you back. Value your progress as it would be valued in a game and you are less likely to abandon the change. Acknowledge every five days of your progress with a level up reward.
  3. Use technology – There is an app for everything these days. Have a look if there is an app designed to support your new habit. If not, set yourself up calendar reminders to prompt you but also to reward and motivate you. If you like things low tech, make a chart to track progress. It seems childlike but having a visual representation of your progress does help.
  4. Look after your brain – while you are switching you don’t want to tax your brain in other ways. If it gets too overwhelmed then it reverts to old habits as operating on these “defaults” take much less energy. So get enough sleep, eat right, be social and don’t start a bunch of other new things at the same time.

This post builds on the earlier ones in this topic starting with The Power of Habits – What is a Habit?. Check out this vid on Neuroplasticity too.

For more resources on Habits, see our Pinterest board.

That rounds out our look at habits, join us next month for a new topic. To subscribe click here.

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