3 Simple Ways To Change A Habit

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

19 Replies to “3 Simple Ways To Change A Habit”

  1. So beautifully penned down. When I read the title of this post, it reminded me of the book Atomic Habits.
    “When something is forced upon us” that’s the main reason not just for kids but for adults too that’s comes in the way of adapting a new path. Habits can be formed. But we need to give ourselves some time.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. These are great tips Swati. I agree we have to start with small steps. if we go for making a sudden change, then it would not work in long run and you easily get back to your older habits with sense of frustration. following a 21 day rule is another great idea to form a habit.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’ve know about the 21 day rule when we follow and practice something for 21 days it becomes an habit.
      One thing that I want to change in me is my habit to procrastinate. Sometimes I know I am doing wrong but still will be lazy and push my work till the last minute. Working on it still 🤦‍♀️

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Habits do die hard. First of all, one needs to have the will to change them. Once that is there, then small steps towards the change will do the trick.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Personally I have changed a lot of bad habits over the years with sheer determination and will power. Like I completely left smoking and have zeroed down on my alcohol intake as well. There are quite a few other bad habits which I need to get rid of completely and I can certainly use your advice 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Some habits die hard but I like the 21days rule. I had this habit of nail-biting during my college time. My friends told if I dont for 10 days they will give me a treat. I was able to and never repeated.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. It’s not easy to change a habit. Never know about the 21/120 rule that will help us to change a habit. These are very helpful tips

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I’m sure all of us struggle to wiggle ourselves out of a bad habit at times. These tips are very helpful. Beginning with identifying and taking small steps towards change is the right way to go.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. It is a helpful post and I do agree habits are developed through years of practice, whether good or bad, so it is not that easy to change those. However we can work taking baby steps as you said.

    Liked by 1 person

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