The science behind building successful habits.
Time is the universal measuring unit and when it comes to building habits, time is the essential ingredient for a perfect, habit nourishing concoction. I am sure we all know what habits are, as we are made of them, but do we really know how to effectively build the blocks that make us who we are? Many experts say that habits can be hacked and that we can abandon old ones to embrace the new and improved.
“A change in bad habits leads to a change in life”
So, now that we know that habits can be broken and fixed back into better ones, the question of how long it takes to develop a habit comes into the scene. The time period can take anywhere from days to several years, depending on the intensity of the emotion that accompanies the decision to embody a new way of acting.
Many people have the habit of talking about and resolving their resolutions. This talk can go on for years, even if we are aware that those patterns of behavior are not healthy for us or our goals, careers and social life. Then, why do we struggle so much at adopting new ways of fuctioning? The answer lies in the level of emotion we are ready to dedicate to ourselves.
Psychologists refer to this as a “significant emotional experience,” or a “SEE.” Any feeling of intense joy or pain combined with a behavior can trigger a new behavior pattern that may endure for the rest of a person’s life. This way habits can be formed instantly and have the potential to be endured permanently.
“Healthy habits are learned in the same way as unhealthy ones- through practice”
According to research it can take up to 21 days to form a habit. These are habits that can be quite easily developed in about three weeks through practice and repetition. So let’s find out a proven and effective way that allows us to form habits successfully.
- Make a decision: these are unconscious things that we do on a daily basis and that sape how we live our lifes. Deciding clearly the scope of our decision and the time and energy we are going to invest on it is a key factor.
- Never allow an exception: research has shown that exceptions tend to become excuses which eventually take us back to our comfort zones. Discipline yourself until it becomes automatic.
- Inform others and speak your goals outloud: Inform others around you that you’re going to be practicing a specific behavior. You will become more disciplined and determined once you know others are watching you to see if you have the willpower to follow through on your resolutions.
- Visualize yourself: imagine how your improved self talks, moves and behaves. This will allow you to have a more clear roadmap on how to get where you want. The more often you visualize yourself acting as if you already had the new habit, the more rapidly this new behavior will be accepted by your subconscious mind and become automatic.
- Create an affirmation: make this your daily mantra and it will allow the habit to merge with your subconcious mind quicker
- Practice makes perfect: keep track and practice everyday, until it becomes routinary and easy to complete.
- Congratulate yourself: set a final rewarding system with each step accomplished. Each time you reward yourself, you reaffirm and reinforce the behavior
“Finally allow yourself to get into the habit of building habits!”