They say it takes 21 days to create a new habit, but is that realistic? If you think about it, our habits shape our lives. According to an article on Psychology Today, it might take longer than 60 days to create or change a habit! In the realm of an entire lifetime, +/- 60 days is not that much time at all. You could potentially change 6 habits a year if you truly wanted to. Want to stop cussing? Want to quit smoking or drinking? Want to eat healthier? You can start by changing the habit, behavior or routine.
Habits are acquired from past experience, training, influences, observance, and practice. We acquire a lot of habits throughout our life, some of which are good and some are bad. Good habits we definitely need to keep, but if one wants to better their life the bad habits need to take a hike. Eliminating bad habits however is not that simple, especially if a dependency is involved. For this reason, we must learn how to change our habits.
Stop Making Excuses and Rationalizations
Many people wander through life making excuses for themselves and their behavior. Sometimes when an individual sees something complicated, they make excuses as to why they cannot deal with the issue. If you want to better your life, you need to adopt a motto like this; “This is something that blocks me from accomplishing what I want and I will change it.”
The first key to success is quit making excuses or rationalizing your habit or behavior. For example, maybe you have a habit of judging other people and yourself. This is a common habit many individuals have and you might think that it is something you just cannot control. People spend so much time negatively labeling others and themselves. This gets them nowhere but in a world of chaos, and can create inner turmoil.
Examine the Habit Itself
Start by taking a closer look at the behavior itself. Do you think negatively? Can you alter this? If so, how? Spending your life believing negative and stating negative connotations will never lead to happiness. There is no time like the present to make a change for the better. For example, state, “I will change something and I’m going to do it now.” Rather than stating “life sucks, I can’t change anything.” Mindfully try to believe your words are true and start moving forward with the change you wish to make.
Define the New Habit You Wish to Attain
Next, specifically define what new habit you want to create. Make a clear decision that you are going to begin acting in a certain way 100% of the time, whenever that behavior is required. Never allow yourself to make an exception to your new pattern especially during the early stages of creating your new behavior.
Take Action Today
As you begin to make changes to improve your life, start small. Rather than jumping the gun, take baby steps to success. Too many times individuals try to change overnight and this only leads to frustration and failure. The habit you want to change needs to be something you can realistically attain. The more complex the habit or behavior, the longer it might take to change. Don’t give up.
Do NOT Give Up
Resolve to continue the new behavior until it is so automatic and easy that you actually feel uncomfortable when you do not do what you have decided to do. Planning and executing are key! If you cannot hold yourself accountable, enlist a buddy to help support you. As they say, “Rome wasn’t built in a day.” Even if you have a bad day, don’t let that prevent you from resuming your goal the following day. One of my favorite sayings is, “you start every day with a clean slate.”