We all, at one time or another in our lives, reach a point where we want to intentionally change our behavior for the better and create new, better habits for ourselves. This could stem from our desire to eat better, get more exercise, drink more water or lose weight. Or it could be work related, spiritual or any number of other things. There are so many areas in our lives that would stand to improve with better, healthier, new habits.
Of course, getting into the habit of doing something new can be a little difficult. We seem to be able to acquire bad habits without putting in very much effort, but when we decide to do something good for ourselves on a regular basis, that can be much more challenging.
I’ve come up with a simple, three step process that will make it easier to internalize a new behavior and make it a new habit. Let’s take a look.
- Decide What It Is You Want To Do
The first step, of course, is to decide what you want your new habit to be. Decide on something as specific as possible. Don’t just say, “Oh, I want to get more exercise.” Instead, say something like, “I will go for a half-hour bike ride every single day.”. Once you decide what your new habit will be and commit to when and how you are going to do it, you’ve won half the battle!
2. Do NOT Allow Yourself To Forget To Do It
I ran into this problem when I decided that I wanted to start saying grace before every meal. It had become such a habit for me to NOT do it, that I would find myself digging in and then only remembering that I had planned to pray before I ate after I had finished. You have to keep thinking about this new habit you want to incorporate all the time. Don’t let yourself forget it. If you have a certain time that your new habit is supposed to happen, set alarms on your phone to remind yourself. (That’s what I ended up having to do with my meals.)
And certainly don’t let laziness or inconvenience keep you from completing your new habit. Say it’s raining and you don’t really want to go outside and ride your bike. Get to the gym and use a stationery bicycle instead. Or buy your own so you don’t have to worry about a gym membership.
3. Create a Routine That Incorporates Your New Habit
This is the last step and one that will really help you a lot. It takes some time before a new behavior becomes an actual habit. Until that happens, having a routine will work to your best advantage. Write it down, set reminders on your phone, whatever it takes to help you get it done without having to spend a ton of willpower.
Set a certain time for your new behavior to be done. Take that bike ride right after dinner, or change from grabbing a drive through meal after work to preparing your meal in a crock pot in the morning so it’s ready when you get home at the end of the day.
These three easy steps will help you to adapt a new behavior into your lifestyle that will be good for you and improve your life.
What new habits are you creating this year? How are you going about making them second nature?
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