How are habits formed? Is there any habit which you wish to change? It is our thoughts and actions that create pathways in our brain. And as we repeat the thinking and response, so the pathways become a tarred road and in no time, highways develop, along which our response travel. This means that whenever we are required to respond to a certain type of thought or situation, our brain follow the road most travelled. And that’s how habits are formed.
Identify The Habit You Want To Change
Make a list of habits you wish to change. Find the trigger point or the cause which is leading to those habits. It might be overwhelming but you need to be focused and determined. Once you learn what prompts them, it is easier to find solution.
Follow 21/120 Rule
Any habit which you wish to change, you must train yourself to turn off the freeway and start a new path, which involves change and hard work. The trouble is that when a crisis arises, we inevitably rush back to the old familiar path or way of doing things. New Year’s Eve is the time when many of us decide to rectify certain bad habits. But how many of us really abide by them? It is said that if you can maintain a cessation of your behavior for 21 days then you are a long way down the road towards maintaining the new behavior. After 120 days you have truly turned the new path into an established road and are far less likely to revert to the old road even during the periods of stress.
But then why we find it hard to stop a bad habit? According to my observation giving up on habitual behavior is hard as we must engage voluntarily in the change, but anything which is forced upon us is easy as we have very little say in the process. Change is something that we humans are not very good with, rather we use up huge amount of energy trying to ensure that change does not happen to us. So, when we are required to change a habit, we need huge amount of determination and courage if we are to succeed.
We develop certain habits because they make us feel good. They help us ease tension and bring relief. This is not just true for good habits but bad habits too. Someone who self-harms know it very well that what they are doing will cause a scar, but the negative implication of doing this surpassed by the emotional release. This really sounds scary and one must strive hard to change these negative habits.
Take Small Steps
Change in habit will not happen overnight. And changing something completely is also not practical. Or setting huge task like “I will stop eating chocolate” might not work as well. So, what are we supposed to do? Take baby steps which you can fulfil. For example, if you just aim not to eat chocolate for a day, then the goal would be more attainable. At the end of the day, you would feel good about yourself and resolve to continue the process for another day, and so on. After 21 days the craving would have reduced, and you could look at weekly target. Now having build up on your success and affirmed a positive sense of self, you would be ready to take up any habit which is a hinderance in your life. Once you’ve established that habit, you continue to do it for another ninety days. It is like throwing a small pebble into the pond and watching how ripples increase in size as they more outwards. One small success can lead to far bigger ones.
Once you understand the only thing which is constant in this world is change, you will dug up your fear , win over your mind and will see a ray of hope.
@ Swati Mathur