I’ll be the first to admit it: I have bad habits. Most of which are so subconscious that my wife thinks I’m a weird person. I bite my nails and never drink the froth off my coffee. Okay – these aren’t so bad considering the bad habits my wife has (love you, babe!). We sometimes catch ourselves out and let out a big sigh, knowing that we’ve once again fallen into that habit.
Being aware of your habits is one thing; going out of your way to proactively stop them is another. It can be disheartening knowing that you’ve once again let yourself sink into a habit.
Which is why I’ve collated 3 successful ways to develop a healthy habit. I practice these on a daily basis and they work if you truly care to implement them.
1. Have Consequences for Your Bad Habits
If you do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve always got.
What’s the point in trying to develop a healthy habit (or trying to stop a bad habit) if you don’t have any consequences? If you struggle to develop a healthy habit, consider coming up with a consequence to your habit. This way, whenever you’re undergoing that consequence, you can link it back to your habit. For example, if you really can’t stop biting your nails, give yourself a one day block from social media. This one requires a little bit of self-discipline but it really does work in the long-term.
/Remember: developing a healthy habit might not always be easy. Most of the time these habits are so subconscious that you’ll find yourself hating some of the consequences. Don’t give in – your mind will reward you for your good behaviour soon!/
2. Consistency is Key
Rome wasn’t built in a day. But it was built eventually.
Ok, bad example. But still – the same principle applies to your habits. We are human. We make mistakes. As such, it’s important to keep consistency at the forefront of your change.
Scheduling time out of your day and setting an alert on your phone, for example, is a great way of reminding yourself of that habit. I have a reminder on everyday of the week to drink 2 cups of water. I can guarantee you I would not drink water throughout the day without that alert constantly reminding me to do so. It’s just who I am!
Develop a pattern. Set yourself reminders. Keep it consistent. You’ll soon find that your body and mind develops invisible muscle memory in relation to your habits and the change.
3. Reward Yourself
Nothing feels better than receiving a reward for all your hard work. This is especially true when you are on track to developing a healthy habit, and you reward yourself for doing so. Along with setting some consequences for not acting on your bad habit, ensure you reward your healthy habits!
It’s sort of like training your dog to learn a new trick. Give him a treat each time he performs it properly. Be strict and consistent. Present a reward for his new habit.
I’m not saying that you should give yourself a chocolate every time you ignore Facebook. It can be a simple has writing that achievement down in your diary (or phone), or even giving yourself a verbal compliment… I do that all the time. “Good job, Matt!”
I’d love to hear how you develop a healthy habit. What are some ways you ensure you stay on track? Share with others in the comments below.