We’re always looking for ways to improve ourselves, which largely revolves around breaking our bad habits and forming good habits. But breaking bad habits and forming better ones is easier said than done. Online, on TV, and in newspapers we read about “secret tips” that promise to make us more improved versions of our wonderful selves.
The reason those tips often don’t work is because there’s really only one way: consistency. There are no shortcuts to creating good habits and breaking bad ones. Improving yourself takes hard work and discipline, all of which require consistency. Why? Because habits are born from consistent behavior. It all starts with us performing (or not performing) a certain action. Then we do it again, and again, and finally it’s part of our routine and we may not even realize we’re constantly doing them.
This doesn’t mean we’re weak; it’s just a part of human nature. As humans, we seek routine that is predictable and makes us comfortable or happy. This is why many of our initial habits aren’t “positive” ones we want to have (like exercising every day or not eating desserts). With a habit, we don’t have to make a conscious decision; we just automatically do them. And once we form these habits, it becomes very hard to break them – usually even longer than it takes to initially form the habit.
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While good habits may be hard to form, they’re certainly worthwhile and are harder to break. The key is to start small, slowly integrating them into your everyday life. If you want to wake up an hour earlier each morning in order to exercise, start one day a week. Once waking up early one day a week is easier, start twice a week and continue until you’ve reached your goal. Because being consistent is the key element, it’s crucial that you don’t break the early habit process. The only way to make it a habit is to make it part of your daily life.
So how long will it take to form the new habit? You’ll know when it happens: you’ll suddenly start doing it automatically without having to consciously think about it.
Breaking a bad habit is a lot like making a good habit: start small. If you eat dessert every night and want to cut out sweets altogether, start by eliminating dessert one night a week. Slowly increase to two nights a week until you entirely eliminate them. Remember, don’t break the habit and stay consistent. If you’re having a lot of trouble breaking the bad habit, try replacing it instead. If you can’t give up sweets entirely, try replacing it with a healthier alternative, like fruit.
While forming good habits and breaking bad habits isn’t easy, it isn’t impossible either. It’s all about consistency. Like this article if you’re ready to form some positive habits!