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Another year is coming to an end. And it’s common that with the arrival of the New Year, a wish to change something in our lives also grows in our hearts. Some people may want to quit smoking, go to the gym more regularly or read more books. In short, we all want to change some daily habits, because that’s where the big changes come from. In this article, we will present a great method to establish new habits and eliminate the bad ones.
According to science, habits are our brain’s way of saving energy. In fact, when we find ourselves in a new situation or performing a different activity, our brain uses energy to figure out the most effective way to do it. But it must have happened to you, for example, to close the car and go back to check if you did it because you weren’t sure. Well, this is due to the fact that this is an action that we perform so often that our brain does not think it is necessary to invest energy to focus on what we are doing. This is a habit.
Of course! And as James Clear says in the book Atomic Habits, if you haven’t succeeded until now, the problem is not you, but the method you used.
So what Clear proposes in his world bestseller is a 4-step method to enhance habit’s change.
These steps can be used both to create new habits and to eliminate the bad ones. Let’s take a look at them:
When creating a new habit we often forget to do it, we don’t find the time or we postpone it until the end of the day. The best thing to overcome this problem is then to associate the new habit with an old one, which we already practice daily.
So we can, for example, go to the gym directly after leaving work, read a page of a book before we fall asleep, practice the guitar after dinner. In this way, it will be impossible to forget about the new habit, and it will become automatic in a few days.
On the contrary, if we want to eliminate an old habit we have to make every related stimulus invisible. After all, it’s easier to avoid temptation than to resist it. So if you want to eat healthier, get rid of the junk food in your home.
It is easy to lose motivation in the beginning, so rewards can be an ally in this phase. For example, we can only watch our favorite series after practicing the guitar; or meeting friends only after going to the gym.
To make a bad habit no longer tempting, however, we must first understand why we execute it. For example, maybe the reason why you eat a lot of junk food is not that you like the taste of it, but rather the feeling of eating it. So if you try to get that feeling through alternative ways, like running or listening to cheerful music, you’ll see that you won’t need the chips anymore when you’re sad.
Habits do not depend on the amount of time we dedicate to them but on the frequency of repetitions. So in the beginning, don’t worry too much about time. Half an hour in the gym or even 10 minutes may initially be enough, as long as they are done constantly. If we want to read a book, then we can start with one page a day. In short, try to make the activity as easy as possible, so that it can be done without problems. Once the habit is already solid, you can focus on increasing its duration.
The opposite is also true. Create barriers that make bad habits more difficult to perform. For example, leave the mobile phone in another room while you study, remove the batteries from the remote control and hide them in a drawer in the room. In short, let’s put obstacles between us and our bad habit and let our laziness come to our aid 😉
Bad habits attract us because they give us immediate gratification but in the long term they make us unhappy. Good habits, on the other hand, work in the opposite way. That’s why you should add immediate gratification right after doing something positive. An example would be to put a cross in the calendar to indicate “done today”.
On the contrary, to eliminate a negative habit we must find a price to pay every time we fall into temptation. We can ask a friend to help us, and maybe send him/her a message every time we fail. The idea of humiliating ourselves in front of a friend will make us feel likely to eating that donut or smoking a cigarette.
The arrival of the new year is always a good time for reflection and new intentions.
We hope that in the coming year you have 365 new opportunities to change your habits and achieve your goals.
MySugardaddy team wishes you a new year full of joy and satisfaction!