Habits are best established when they are practiced everyday. There is some debate on how many times one must perform a behavior before it becomes a habit, but most agree it takes about a month of daily practice at a minimum.
A habit is a behavior in response to a trigger, i.e., an environmental cue. I get up in the morning; I turn on the tea kettle; I feed the cats; I sit on the sofa and read while sipping my morning tea. I want to add exercise into this couch-potato routine!
It is easier to form a new healthy habit than to break an old unhealthy one. WHY? Because old habits are attached to emotional pleasure centers in the brain. Breaking an old habit requires investigation into what the cues/triggers are that lead to the behavior and what pleasure is derived by performing the behavior. One must substitute a new behavior in response to a trigger and fulfill the need/derive similar satisfaction from the new behavior.
If NEW habits are so EASY to form, WHY are New Year’s resolutions forgotten before Groundhog Day? Usually, it is because we try to change too much, too quickly without adequate planning and it becomes a hassle and not a reward.
Starting and feeding a blog is also a new habit that I am trying to form. This involves making a time commitment to write everyday on a variety of topics and to provide photos too!
Forming a New Habit:
Step 1. Make a specific plan
WHAT: Write 5 days per week on topics related to forming Good Daily Habits.
WHEN: AM & PM the day before I post, starting now. What’s the trigger…morning coffee/tea. Evening: after 9 PM
WHERE: I write at my desk on my home computer/on my laptop if I am traveling (rare).
WHY: To become accountable (a big plus in forming a new habit is to tell others about it!) and to keep a record of progress!
Step 2. Document
Step 3. Evaluate/Review
What is working; what is not working.