Are your habits destroying your future or building your dream?
The power of your day and ultimately your life is in your habits. Technically you have 100% control over your habits because you are the only one who has control over your brain. You can choose to continue to give away your power one habitual act at a time or you can sieze the power of your habits and force them to work in your favor.
It is time you learn how to successfully add habits into your life that will help you win. I’m going to share 3 simple tips that allow you to quickly create good habits that will propel you forward toward a happier and more successful life.
Can you resonate with this statement from the Apostle Paul; I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate; Romans 7:15.
Why is it such a challenge to change our ways? The answer is in how your brain works. Your subconscious feeds on routine and repetition which allows us to perform tasks like eating, driving, and chores without our conscious mind having to lift a finger. Anything you do repeatedly makes a pathway to your subconscious, creating a habit. Once it’s a habit it is is oh so easy to do over and over.
The difficult part is establishing the new routine that will allow a good habit to be formed. Interestingly there is no resistance to creating a “bad” habit. Our human nature is pulled naturally toward the path of least resistance and the moment you create an intention it is as though everything around you conspires to keep you from moving toward a better life. That resistance to a better life is our enemy to conquer.
I want to share with you the tactics I am currently using to overcome my old ways and become my best self daily. I am continually learning, reading books and I am inspired by great ideas that I promptly try to implement into my life. I am excited and motivated to start but after a few days things happen that squeeze out my newest inspiration or idea and inevitably I am back to my same old self. Wasted actions that feel a lot like a spinning wheel that is motion but never moving me toward my goals. I’m certain you face this same challenge so here are what is working for me and moving me toward the life I want.
Tip 1: Place CUES around to remind your brain of your new intention.
Every habitual routine starts with a cue to our brain that activates the “autopilot” in our subconscious mind telling it to perform our routine behavior. This simultaneously reminds your subconscious of the reward that the behavior is seeking which is what motivates you to action. Discover what you can do to give your brain a cue to remind you to perform the new habit. You may feel resistance to this new habit. Acknowledge the resistance (your old belief system causes this resistance) and tell yourself that you are going to take action anyway! Now, focus your attention on the reward the new habit provides as you force yourself to take action. Examples of a cue is alarms, notes to self, objects, pictures, visuals, etc…
Tip 2: layer your new habit along side a habitual habit.
There are certain things we do habitually already like our morning coffee, brushing our teeth, and bedtime routine. As you are attempting to develop a new habit layer it along side something you already do habitually. Place your cue to align with the times or places you perform these habitual acts.
For example your new goal is to drink 80 ounces of water daily so you place a water bottle by your coffee maker as a cue to fill it up as you pour your morning cup. Lay your planner out on the bathroom sink to remind you to review or plan your day each morning. Put a book on your pillow so you will read for 10 minutes before you go to sleep. Strategically layering these new habits alongside your established routine will set you up to successfully enter the new intention into your life.
Tip 3: Identify the reward.
It is time to have an honest conversation with yourself and build your self awareness around your habits. Whether you are attempting to replace a bad habit with a good one or simply implementing a new habit, it’s important to identify the reward you are seeking to obtain through taking this action. When attempting to let go of a habit you must know what you gain from it that keeps you coming back. You are satisfied by the habit even if you know logically it’s harmful. Once you know what you are seeking you can plan a counter attack by giving yourself an alternative. Let’s use coffee as an example. Every morning I drink a cup of coffee. The reward I am seeking is the comfort I gain by sipping the warm liquid as I converse with my husband for 10 minutes before the busy day begins. If I wanted to make a healthier choice I could replace my calorie and caffeine filled coffee with a nice and flavorful herbal hot tea. I can still satisfy myself with the reward of comfort now that I know it is what I am seeking not the coffee itself.
Now let’s say you want to create a brand new habit. You need to be clear on the reward you will gain by the new habit and do everything you can to create desire for that reward. You need to be able to visualize and experience what that reward will give you to stimulate your motivation muscles. You will need this motivation to be strong in order to overcome the resistance you will face once you try to do something new.
For example let’s say you are wanting to implement an exercise routine. You have placed out your exercise clothes and created an alarm as a cue as well as layered your intention along with your morning routine. But, when the alarm goes off…. BAM! The enemy of resistance hits full force. Your mind tries to convince you of every possible reason not to put your feet on the floor. This is where you need to draw from your reward mojo.
Luckily you are prepared because you know the reward you are seeking. You have spent time visualizing and meditating on the results exercise will give you. You have looked at photos of you during a time you felt and looked like what you desire to be again. You can draw upon your desire to feel more energetic, flexible, strong, and healthy. You can envision your body leaner and firmer. You want this, and although you are in the midst of a very tough battle of the wills, your motivation for the reward you seek is strong enough to force your feet to hit the floor. The new routine begins in spite of the enemy, and you have exerted your own personal power. Roar!
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