Our habits create the foundation of our lives. Habits dictate our success, failures, health, relationships, and well-being. Good habits can lead us to achievement and a life well lived. Poor habits can lead us to a life of loneliness and sickness.
We can all list positive habits like eating vegetables, sleeping 8 hours a night, exercising, reading, flossing, etc.
We can all list negative habits as well: smoking, overeating, being sedentary, staying up all night, being consumed by television and social media, etc.
Knowing where powerful habits can lead us begs the question, how can you form these habits? Research will vary in length required to implant a habit into your behavior, so rather than debating that, let's look at the basic concepts to begin internalizing a habit.
I like to look at 3 steps that go into forming a habit.
2. Start Small
The cue is a behavior that you already do out of habit or necessity that you can pair your new habit it. This serves as a prompt to perform the habit, as well as help solidify it into your already established routines.
Starting small is vital to success as huge habits require drastic behavior changes. This will almost always end in failure. Starting small makes the habit extremely accessible, manageable, and enable you to implement it more easily. These factors lead to success. So what constitutes small?
For flossing- Floss one tooth (Cue: Brushing your teeth)
For eating more vegetables- Have a single bite (Cue: Eating dinner)
For walking or running- put on your tennis shoes and step outside (Cue: when you get home from work)
For writing- Write a single sentence (Cue: As you sip your morning coffee)
For reading- Read a single page (Cue: When you lay down in bed)
To go to the gym- Pull into the parking lot (Cue: On your way home from work)
To start meditating- Sit silently and take one deliberate breath (Cue: As you sit up each morning upon waking)
The third step is the reward. Our habits need to bring us a reward, internally or externally, to stick. The habits we choose need to make us feel good, feel proud, bring about positive change in ourselves or positive feedback from others. Sometimes the reward isn't immediate which makes for a challenging transition period, but if you know that meditation will help reduce your stress, exercising will give you more energy, or eating your vegetables will improve improve your heath then that provides the motivation to keep going until you see or feel the results kick in.
What habits would you like to instill in your life?
We are Amber and Jordan Kirbey. We are excited to share our experiences and ideas with you!