Our lives are formed by habits. How to make the best out of this knowledge? Learn to break bad habits and build new routines!
When it comes to living our daily lives, our habits and routines are impactful leaders in decision-making. Meaning, they eliminate almost any thoughtful decisions whatsoever…
We wake up and follow our morning routines… We take the same route to work as always… We do the same tasks almost every day… We eat lunch at our favorite spot with our favorite co-workers… Head home… Get in the bed and eat some Cheetos.
Or whatever people do these days…
It’s convenient and somewhat easy because our brains are literally programmed to do all of this by now.
Why fitness experts say that going to the gym is not THAT hard?! Because it’s a part of their habit.
Parents who head to bed right after putting their kids to sleep? Habit.
Reading every morning for half an hour? Habit.
We get used to doing things and… well… we do them without much of thinking. And it doesn’t even matter if it’s hard or not so much!
Although this seems like a quite positive beginning, the same programming works for everything.
That pack of snacks you eat each evening? Habit.
Always taking the elevator? Habit.
Just as we form good or – more like it – normal habit patterns, we also build bad habits.
Smoking. Unhealthy food. Sleazballing at work. Using your phone in every free moment.
How to break bad habits and build new routines?
Just as it happens to be, everything IS possible. So yes, you CAN break bad habits and build new routines. Become healthier, happier and more productive.
However, it will depend on your willpower, your mindset and your dedication when it comes to how long it will take for you to break bad habits and whether or not you’ll succeed.
Here are some things that will help you to break bad habits more easily
Start out small
You don’t need to make a 360-degree switch within one day. That’s actually a guarantee for failing! Instead, build new habits into your routines week by week.
Know your goals
Knowing WHY you do what you do will help you to keep on track. It will serve as a nice dose of motivation when you find yourself drifting off the route again.
Make something easy or difficult to change your behavior
This really is the KEY ingredient to changing your habits. If you always find yourself starting in the phone, leave it in the other room so every time you want to check it, you have to stand up and go there. If you want to go for runs in the morning, leave your running clothes right by your bed so you can slip into them as soon as you wake up.
Build new routines
Most researchers, writers and psychologists agree on one great idea called “habit stacking”.
Basically, this means that you take your old habits and use them to build new ones.
Let’s say you always use a car to drive to work and it takes you 30 mins to get there. You can build a new habit of listening to audiobooks while doing so! So instead of trying to find to read, you can add the habit to something you already do anyway.
Another sample would include a follow-up action. For example, if you’re watching TV every evening, how about doing yoga or 15 min stretches meanwhile?! I do this and it’s the perfect way to combine leisure with at least some physical activity!
If there’s something that can’t be combined, you can just use the existing habit and add a new one. For example, before every meal, you can drink at least a glass of water. The perfect way to improve life with new routines (and drink more water)!
Creating decision points moves decisions from your fast (Instinctive) brain to the slow (deliberate) brain. It makes it easier to make a rational choice.
Are you ready to break your old habits? There is no magic cure, no fast-paced solution. All you can do is GET STARTED.
Definitely take a look at Atomic Habits if you want to learn more about our habit patterns and building new routines that support our best lives.