Good habits are ultimately deciding factor for a person’s development and growth. Becoming successful, becoming happy is nothing but the results of good habits. It is tough to break old habits and form a new one as they are imprinted in neural pathways.
It is said that a Habit never goes. If you remove ‘H’, ‘A Bit’ remains and if you remove ‘A’, ‘Bit’ remains. And when you further remove ‘B’, ‘It’ still remains.
A study says there are 3 R’s behind any behaviour shift: Reminder, Routine and Reward.
- A reminder is nothing but behavioural triggers which initiates actions
- Routine means a behaviour pattern
- A reward is a result you get out from it
Reminder, Routine and Reward are a cycle of habit.
For example, you set up a schedule for lunch dinner; at a particular time, you get a trigger of hunger, having regular balanced diet meal is a routine for you. And as a reward, you get a healthy and fit body. Since the reward is positive, it is considered as one of the good habits.
Likewise, there are bad habits as well, such as overspending, nail-biting, spending too much time on the internet or smartphones, addictions are bad behavioural patterns which results into negative rewards like health issues and fickle mindset; which ultimately suppress your productivity.
Well, it is said that it takes 21 days to form a habit and 90 days to make it your lifestyle. So, by proper planning and adapting concrete action plans and routine; a person can change bad habits to good. Once you understand your habit and work towards improving them, you can set up action plans for it.
You must prepare for a habit change plan. If you failed in the past; it doesn’t mean you will not succeed in future.
Below are few strategies for developing good habits:
Set up a month’s tenure for habit challenge
Focus on one habit at a time and start with an action plan. You need 100 % commitment for this change to happen. Sometimes 30 days is not enough for this; you can extend it for 60 or 90 days’ challenge.
Set up a start date
You should start a habit change on a particular date. Setting a time limit is essential. This will create excitement for this routine, which will ultimately improve your lifestyle.
Come out of a negative mindset
When you want to change the habit or adopt new habit; first we have to change a negative mindset. One mistake is not equal to failure. We can’t be a perfectionist at all points. If you miss one day; it’s okay to start again from the next day.
Set a baseline
This strategy is most suitable when we have to change old habits like smoking, biting nails, overeating etc. It is challenging to stop everything at one shot. We need to reduce the count slowly and then reach the zero level.
Check out triggers
When you are planning for habit change; first check out what are the triggers. There are some external triggers like time, location, people, actions etc.; also there are some internal triggers like mood changes, health issues, fear etc.
Once you identify the triggers; make an action plan. External triggers can’t be totally omitted, but we should learn how to deal with it. Internal triggers can be handled by self-motivation, positive thoughts etc. Positive thinking mindset is very much essential for changing habits.
Focus on rewards
Getting positive reward means positive results are a sign of good habit. When we feel energized, happy and loved; we can say it is a good habit. You can take help of physical exercise when you feel stressed. Going for a 10-minute walk, listening to music and meditation are good ways to divert from bad habits.
Support system for breaking a bad habit
There are possibilities when you might feel weak while following plans. For that, we should have some support system. They can be your team members, friends, relatives’ family members who can motivate you or keep your morale up.
Word of caution: It is difficult to form good habits, and we know that! But whenever you feel like giving up while you’re on your journey towards becoming a better version of you, remember this beautiful quote by Aristotle: “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence then, is not an act, but a habit.”