Building new habits
Habits are a powerful part of our everyday life. They’re what we rely on when we want sustainable behaviour change: losing body fat or gaining muscle, going to sleep earlier or waking up earlier, spending less time on our phone or spending more time creating. In this article, you will learn how to implement new habits. If you’ve been wanting to change your behaviour for a while, but struggled to keep at it, you’re going to like this read.The Science of HabitsAccording to author James Clear, there are 5 types of triggers for habits. These triggers are the cues that will lead to your somewhat unconscious habitual behaviours.Time. Watching a film every evening, having lunch at regular hours, etc. Time can be useful to create routines around. If you’ve seen startup founders talk about waking up at 5am every day to meditate, work out, read, have a cold shower, and then post about it all on LinkedIn, you know what I’m talking about. A morning routine could also be waking up at 8, making your bed and drinking tea at your window. Just saying.Location plays a key role in habits, and in addiction. Changing your environment is key to addiction recovery, and conversely, staying in the same place constantly reminds you of the behaviour you are used to and makes it way harder to be abstinent. The more your environment is working to your advantage, the easier self-control will be. If you always find yourself browsing social media for 2 hours in a specific place, it’d be interesting to stop going there for a few weeks and look at the effect on your digital habits.Preceding event. This happens when you unlock your phone right after it vibrates, or when you open a notification the moment it comes in. Preceding events are interesting to leverage for habit stacking, meaning you can create a new habit by pairing it with an existing one.Emotional state is a tricky one because it requires a high level of mindfulness, without which it’s very difficult to be self-aware on the spot. If stress makes you check your emails every 5 minutes and prevents you from doing deep and focused work, spotting and replacing that habit will require you to tune in to your feelings. Which is made harder by stress itself. You see where this is going.Other people can also work as a habit trigger. Chances are you’ll build different habits whether your friend group is more passionate about MMORPGs or weight-lifting. The time you spend online can also be influenced by the people you live with. Do they scroll the news in bed for a half-hour before sleeping? In this moment, you might be tempted to take your phone out too.The Limits of WillpowerWhen you aim to create a new habit, you have to favour long-term goals instead of short-term rewards. If you struggle with it, could it be that you’re just not strong-willed enough? Well, it’s more complicated. Willpower can be useful, but it’s not as reliable as having an environment or a system that works for you. Here are a few things you can do that will help stick to your new habits:Implementation intention is a technique that researchers have found to be effective on both adolescents and adults. » Read More
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