Establishing Habits

I think there was one very important factor missing from last week's discussion on breaking habits, but it will do well to mention it here.  

The key to breaking or establishing any habit is desire.

Just like with anything else, if you don't really want it, it's not going to happen.  If you want to establish the habit of getting up and running every morning at 5AM to get in shape, but you hate to run, get up early, and you don't want to do it, then you should probably explore other exercising options.  If the goal is to get in shape, not be a runner, then there are a lot of other options that will probably prove more successful.  

Whatever habit you want to break or establish, you have to mean it.  You have to be hell-bent on it.  With that kind of desire and drive, you can truly accomplish anything.

So, now that we have a strong desire for the habit we want to establish, let's chat about some ways to go about implementing it into our lives.  If you aren't switching habits, like fruit for chocolate after meals, then you'll need to create a trigger.  This trigger reminds you to engage in your new habit.  It can be a permanent trigger, like eat a meal and then get a piece of fruit, or it could be just a scaffold until you've got your habit down.

If you think you watch too much tv, a temporary trigger could be placing a book on top of the remote to remind you to read rather than watch tv.  Once you've gotten into the habit of reading when you'd normally watch tv, you'll automatically reach for a book instead of the remote.  An awesome trigger that I just heard about on Instagram was of some fellow artists picking an instrumental song to play when they first sat down to work.  They are training their brain to be creative and prepared to work whenever they hear the song.  This habit brings in focus and the state of mind required to create and pushes away all the other "noise".  This is certainly something worth exploring!

Depending on the habit that you're trying to establish, there are a number of easy triggers that will help you cultivate the habit.  I have a friend who slipped a dime in her shoe and every time she felt it, she thought of something she was grateful for.  I had another friend change her phone background to remind her not to waste time.  I carry a silver dollar in my pocket to remind me to repeat my affirmations.  Take the time to figure out a trigger that won't annoy you, but gently remind you of your goals.

After all this, it is the consistency that wins the game. 

This is where desire plays a huge role.  If you truly, truly want it, you'll stick to your guns.  You won't be swayed or led off track, at least, not for long.  Sure, setbacks happen, but you only fail if you decide to quit.  Be consistent and persevere and that habit will be a part of you in no time.