HOW TO CREATE GOOD HABITS THAT SUPPORT YOUR DREAM LIFE
Your day is made up of all of the habits you’ve implemented into your life, both good and bad. Habits are all of the small actions you take on a daily or regular basis. These small actions compound over time to produce the results in your life, meaning your habits can make the difference between success and failure. This is why implementing good habits into your life is critical to get where you want to be. Let’s dive into how to create good habits that support your dream life.
THE ROLE YOUR BRAIN PLAYS IN CREATING HABITS
The number one thing you should know about your brain is that it loves efficiency and repetition. So much in fact, that it tries to prevent you from trying new things and achieving your goals.
Whenever your brain encounters something new, it goes into fight or flight mode. It wants you to keep repeating your past, because it’s efficient at what you’ve done in the past and knows it’s safe. In primitive times, this reaction was useful for keeping you alive.
In order to manage this reaction from your brain and its resistance achieving your goals, you need to implement habits. Good habits instil discipline in your life so you don’t have to spend as much energy focusing on your goals and the future.
THE HABIT LOOP
At the core of every habit in your life, there is a neurological loop that consists of three parts:
- Trigger (or Cue)
- Reward (or Benefit)
Let’s go through an example. Every day when you get home from work, you drop your things at the door, turn on the TV, and binge watch Netflix. The trigger is getting home from work and seeing the couch and TV waiting for you. The routine is you turning on the TV and watching Netflix. The reward is how watching TV makes you feel (relieves stress, turning off your mind to avoid thoughts about your day, avoiding responsibilities, etc.). The binge watching is a form of escape, which feels good. This is an example of a habit that prevents you from reaching your goals, because you are simply wasting time.
In order to get the results you want in your life, you need to create habits that support your goals.
To create good habits that support your goals, you can change your current habits by changing the triggers, routines, or rewards.
One key way to start changing your habits is by structuring your environment in such a way to encourage better behaviors. Structuring your environment to foster success and happiness can make a huge difference in your daily life.
An example of this may be to hide the remote to your TV (the trigger) and leave a stack of books on your coffee table instead. You could also think about the reward you get from watching TV, and see if you could get that same benefit from implementing a different habit instead. Another option could be to implement a new routine where you don’t allow yourself to sit on the couch until you’ve completed your tasks for the evening.
HOW TO CREATE AND IMPLEMENT NEW HABITS
Now that you understand how habits and your brain work, let’s talk about how to create and implement new, supportive habits in your life.
1. BRAINSTORM AND CREATE A LIST OF SUPPORTIVE HABITS
The first step creating good habits that support your dream life is to identify all the habits you think will support the achievement of your goals and the life you want to live.
Aim for a list of 5-10 habits. When you list these habits, you should be able to explain how each habit supports the goals you want to achieve.
One key thing to remember is that your focus with creating new habits is on the process. Contrast this with planning your goals, where you would focus on the result you want to create. Once you’ve implemented your new habits, you still need to identify the result you want to create with those habits.
2. START BY IMPLEMENTING ONE HABIT FROM YOUR LIST RIGHT NOW
When creating implementing new habits, it’s often best to choose just one to start with. Choose one habit from the list you just created and implement it immediately.
If your habit is to wake up at 5:30am to workout, and that feels impossible to you right now, focus on the thoughts and feelings you have around waking up extra early. What are the thoughts you have right when your alarm goes off? What do you believe about waking up early? Do you believe you can do it?
The night before, it can be really helpful to ask yourself questions that support waking up early. You could ask yourself, “What can I do to make waking up early easier for me?” or “What thoughts can I think to help me get out of bed at 5:30am?” It’s important to know your “why” for implementing a new habit, because your “why” will help push you through all of the resistance you’ll feel.
Another strategy for implementing new habits is to implement them incrementally. For the workout example, you could start by waking up 15 or 30 minutes earlier at first until it becomes easier. I found that this really helped me when I started waking up earlier in the morning.
You can also create an environment that encourages your habit, such as setting out your workout clothes the night before and leaving your packed gym bag by the door with your keys.
3. EXPECT RESISTANCE – AND DO IT ANYWAY
Remember, your brain loves repeating the past. Therefore, when your brain is faced with new habits, it’s going to resist. It’s helpful to know when you’re creating new habits to expect this resistance from your brain.
You’ve made the decision and know what’s best for you, so push through the resistance. Honor the commitments you make to yourself and hold yourself accountable. Treat these commitments to yourself as even more important than commitments you make to your best friend or a loved one. Your goals and doing what it takes to get the results you want in your life is important.
Continue to push through the resistance until your new habits actually become habits that you don’t have to think much about. Don’t let a slip up here and there derail you.
HOW LONG UNTIL A HABIT BECOMES A TRUE HABIT
Something I learned from Natalie Bacon in Design Your Dream Life Academy is that there is no magic number for how many days it takes for a habit to become a true habit. 21 days is a myth.
Every person is different.
It depends on you and how much resistance there is between you and the new habit.
For example, not everyone is born a great runner. If your goal is to be able to run a 5k, it may take you 3 months of consistently running every other morning for you to stop being miserable for every second of it. For others, it could take a month.
Don’t hold yourself to some made up standard of how long it should take you. You do you, and continue to work on whatever it is that’s important to you. Trust that the more you do something, the easier it will become, because that’s just how it works.
Good habits can change the course of your life for the better. Reaching your goals becomes completely possible once you identify and implement habits that support them. By using this process, you’ll become a boss at creating amazing habits.
My final tip is to use a habit tracker. I use habit trackers daily, and they seriously work.
Author: Hi, I’m Kirsten! I help driven, vibrant women who want to leave their limiting beliefs behind to create a life they are insanely happy to live. To see more posts like this, head over here.