Changing a habit can be a tricky process because it’s likely been a part of your life for a while to the point where it can be unconscious that we have a pattern.
Environments reinforce habits. In life, we have all kinds of cues that can trigger a habit so deeply it feels unconsious. Certain things like a social cocktail or a coffee can trigger the need for a cigarette. Advertizing can trigger food cravings. All kinds of imagery and sensory information can bring out the best or worst reactions.
Lots of great, grounded science can help guide you in changing habits. And… changing your space can help make those habits stick.
There are signs everywhere that you see when you ask for them, like this rainbow on a dark day as I headed to my Buddhist temple. The same things would always be there, but when you decide you need a sign you will see the sign. Our mind works that way on a basic level. You fixate on love and you’ll see it. Fix your attention on problems and they’ll grow.
Want to change a habit… and you’ll find ways to do it.
You can change habits. You can replace them with better ones. We never are a slave to how we think or act. The brain is very elastic. It’s amazing what’s possible!
“We’ve always thought — and I still do — that the value of a habit is you don’t have to think about it. It frees up your brain to do other things… However, it doesn’t free up all of it. There’s some piece of your cortex that’s still devoted to that control.” Institute Professor Ann Graybiel, a member of the McGovern Institute for Brain Research at MIT
The 3 Week Myth:
Maxwell Maltz was a plastic surgeon in the 1950’s and was observing how long it would take a patient to be “comfortable” with their new face that he had reconstructed. From his observations, he concluded, it would take at least 21 days for a person to adjust to their new facial appearance. Society started spreading this ascertainment as fact, and low and behold, people ingratiated this idea into their psyche.
But, does it really only take at least three weeks to make a new life adjustment recocognized cognitively as normal and habitual? The Huffington Post shared a study from the University College London. They found that, “On average, it takes more than 2 months before a new behavior becomes automatic — 66 days to be exact.”
66 days is not that long to put attention on something that you want to change. If you can see the transformational benefits and you feel you deserve them, you’re on your way. Now, make a solid decision… and… let’s do this!
To start, here’s a simple habit-changing formula:
James Clear, author of, “Transform Your Habits”, has a few simple steps on how to build new habits and make them stick. He writes (and you can read more HERE):
- Start with a small habit you want to be a part of your life
- Increase the habit in very small ways
- As you build up break up habits into smaller pieces
- When you slip, get back on track ASAP
- Be Patient. Stick to a pace you can sustain
And, to reinforce all that greatness:
- Clean your house. It helps when the energy around you rises up!
- Clear any clutter and disorganization in the way of your new life. For example, if you want to stick to a new way of eating, de-clutter the pantry and the fridge.
- Remove anything you know will trigger you.
- Flood your home with freshness in a sensory way- fresh scented candles, fresh colors, fresh design, fresh art – that creates a paradigm shift.
And… celebrate all your success. If you keep at it, you can transform anything you need to transform. Your bad habits, your obstacles and blocks can truly be the best opportunities to grow.
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