What’s the best approach to creating new habits?
Well a lot of people use repetitive physical action to make habit changes, which can certainly work, I just don’t believe in it. The reasons being 1) it takes a lot of energy and willpower 2) it has higher chance of failure (i.e giving up or relapsing)
My approach to habit change that works phenomenonaly, if you take the time to learn it, takes place in the mental world.
Let’s take a look at how it works…
First off, what is a habit? Well let’s define it as something you repeatedly do.
But why are you doing it? Like I’ve talked about in previous posts, our behaviour is based on our beliefs. You act in line with what you hold to be true. If you believe studying will get you good marks and you desire good marks, you’re going to study. If you believe studying is too hard and you hate hard work, you won’t study. Neither is more ‘right’ than the other, they’re just beliefs.
If that’s the case, to change a habit you first need to recognize what belief is driving it and then shift it.
To identify a belief remember all you need to do is evaluate your thoughts and emotions, which always stem from beliefs. What you’re thinking and feeling will tell you what you are currently believing.
Once that’s done I suggest using autosuggestion, prayer, and visualization to create and embed the new belief in your subconscious. If you want to study more for example, first affirm that you love studying and it is easy. Again you don’t need to believe it right away, but you do need to impress that thought on your subconscious repeatedly. From there, visualize the ideal outcome of you studying… How would it look in your mind? How would want to feel ideally? What would the outcome of doing so be ideally? Use your imagination to build experience!
Finally, take action! For everything you do, use those actions as symbols of the beliefs you want to affirm. So in this case, everytime you open your textbook say to yourself “this action represents my love for studying and how easy it is”.. From there watch your habits build effortlessly.
Another relevant example – weight-loss. The only reason you don’t lose weight is because your beliefs stop you. If you believe “I’m always going to be fat” or “I can’t control my eating”, trying to get in the habit of going to the gym is futile. Why the heck would you go if you’re so set in the belief it won’t work? Ridiculous!
You first need to change your mental state and then use your imagination and actions to reaffirm that new mental state. “I am always losing weight” and “I am incredibly fit and healthy” – say it and look for the tiniest ways to convince yourself of that perspective. Wear bigger jeans or imagine yourself strutting your stuff on a nude beach in your imagination and everyone whispering “wow, he or she is fit!”.
Perspective is your friend, you just gotta use it in a way that moves you closer towards what you want… Not what you don’t want.