How to turn behaviors into habits

How to turn behaviors into habits

Lately, mostly because of the quarantine, the urge to do new things has increased a lot. Either by wanting to get out of boredom and discover something new or by realizing that the old behaviors have not made so much sense in our lives – or worse: they are even doing harm. What happens is that many people have tried new activities, such as meditation, yoga, reading, healthy eating and different habits to try to feel better. But there are times when it is so difficult, you know?

The real story is that practicing new tasks is very different from actually building a daily habit, which can last for many days, months or maybe totally change our lifestyle. Habits require planning, will and some strategies created from scientific studies. Yes, we can transform behavior into habits, but how?

How to turn behaviors into habits

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The idea of ​​making this change is to make our routine easier and smoother, without charging. That is, here comes the first teaching: habits should not consume a lot of energy or be extremely painful. Maybe a little more at first, but then it must be something almost natural, part of you. And to be that way, some “rules” need to be followed. Here we go?

WHAT’S MOST IMPORTANT NOW?

First, it is necessary put on no paper what are your wishes and priorities. List all the behaviors you would like to practice and decide which ones are most important to you now. You will have to make a selection because unfortunately, for most people, you can’t change everything at once. Choose what will be the main actions worked at that moment. The ideal is not to try to create too many habits at the same time, this can cause an overload of tasks and responsibilities and generate frustrations.

How to turn behaviors into habits

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This is also the time to list the amount of tasks to be done so that isolated behaviors become habits – it varies from person to person and habit to habit. What needs to be clear are short, medium and long term goals.

WHERE IT ALL BEGAN?

Now is the time to practice the self knowledge and look at you, your routine and your behaviors to understand what are the triggers or triggers that make you continue with a bad habit or fail to finish a habit that you want to insert into the routine.

How to turn behaviors into habits

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For example, whenever you go to meditate, there is a very loud noise on the street that makes you uncomfortable and you say: “oh, since there is noise, I won’t do it now”, and you end up not doing it later. Or even, stress peaks that make you perform some “pleasurable” action that you are trying to avoid: eating sweets, smoking…

Anyway, identify what leads you to perform this behavior and work from that trigger. Want an example? In the case of meditation mentioned earlier, it may be better to meditate at another quieter time or to use a guided meditation app with headphones.

In the second case, how about exchanging sweets and cigarettes for another pleasurable action? It could be eating a fruit that you like a lot, listening to music you love or even calling someone.

DO IT ON GOOD OR BAD DAYS

One of the most important teachings is to understand that repetition it is very important for continuing practice and creating a habit. The body and mind understand that this activity is important to us as we discover better ways to practice, in addition to making it easier and more enjoyable.

Still, we become happier and more fulfilled when we see that we are managing to continue what we planned.

How to turn behaviors into habits

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Of course, there are good and bad days, we will not always be comfortable and excited to do what we propose. But, is important Continue even so, to understand how we act when performing that action even on the worst days.

TRACK YOUR DEVELOPMENT

Since the idea is to repeat, without skipping planning steps, nothing better than to view The your progress. Then, create a way to record all your steps: it can be marking in a calendar (print here) the days you did a certain task, write down your perceptions in a notebook, mark with a PIN on your wall, check your planner… Choose the way that suits you 😉

How to turn behaviors into habits

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The idea is to give the feeling of “task accomplished” that encourages us to continue without skipping steps and getting a sense of everything that is being achieved by you. Plus, when you realize you’ve reached your “comfortable moment” it can also be an idea increase your goals: the goal was to read 20 pages a day, read 30 now.

CELEBRATE YOUR ACHIEVEMENTS

Look at your notes of how many days you have spent and allow yourself to thank for that moment and to recognize that you went far. Use this as an impulse to go even further, remembering that habits take weeks to build – it depends on how difficult it is for you.

How to turn behaviors into habits

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In addition, one of the pillars of human habits is the “reward”, so it is very important what you will do (or not) when practicing this habit. That is, taking a healthy amount of water every day will bring a better quality of life, right? So, see this achievement in the future and recognize it when you realize it is taking effect.

DO NOT COVER YOURSELF SO MUCH…

Finally, understand that there are many strategies, tips and directions to build a habit, but that each one has its own history and different ways of looking at life. So, if you can’t keep up with a habit or skip one day or another, take a deep breath, reflect on why it happened, change some things you think is necessary and go back to your planning.

How to turn behaviors into habits

Photo: Benedikt Geyer in Unsplash

But, don’t give up that easy. It is common for your mind and body to want to go back to the initial state and create ways to circumvent this new habit you are trying to build. Remember that repetition is the most important!

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What is the most recent habit you have developed? Leave in the comments 🙂

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