Your life today is essentially the sum of your habits. How in shape or out of shape you are? A result of your habits.
How happy or unhappy you are? A result of your habits. How successful or unsuccessful you are? A result of your habits. What you repeatedly do (i.e. what you spend time thinking about and doing each day) ultimately forms the person you are, the things you believe, and the personality that you portray.
But what if you want to improve? What if you want to form new habits? How would you go about it?
Turns out, there’s a helpful framework that can make it easier to stick to new habits so that you can improve your health, your work, and your life in general.
- Reminder (the trigger that initiates the behavior)
- Routine (the behavior itself; the action you take)
- Reward (the benefit you gain from doing the behavior
Step 1: Set a Reminder for Your New Habit
If you talk to your friends about starting a new habit, they might tell you that you need to exercise self–control or that you need to find a new dose of willpower.
Getting motivated and trying to remember to do a new behavior is the exact wrong way to go about it. If you’re a human, then your memory and your motivation will fail you. It’s just a fact.
This is why the reminder is such a critical part of forming new habits. A good reminder does not rely on motivation and it doesn’t require you to remember to do your new habit.
It doesn’t matter if it’s working out or eating healthy or creating art, you can’t expect yourself to magically stick to a new habit without setting up a system that makes it easier to start.
Routine where to fit it in
Picking the correct reminder for your new habit is the first step to making change easier.
The best way I know to discover a good reminder for your new habit is to write down one list. In the list, write down the things that you do each day without fail.
- Get in the shower.
- Put your shoes on.
- Brush your teeth.
- Flush the toilet.
- Sit down for dinner.
- Turn the lights off.
- Get into bed.
You’ll often find that many of these items are daily health habits like washing your face, drinking morning tea, brushing your teeth, and so on. Those actions can act as reminders for new health habits. For example, “After I drink my morning tea, I meditate for 60 seconds.”
Add in your new habit in your morning routine or evening routine – believe it or not, we have them without realising it.
What is Your Reward?
It’s important to celebrate. (I think that’s just as true in life as it is with habits.)
We want to continue doing things that make us feel good. And because an action needs to be repeated for it to become a habit, it’s especially important that you reward yourself each time you practice your new habit.
For example, if I’m working towards a new fitness goal, then I’ll often tell myself at the end of a workout, “That was a good day.” Or, “Good job. You made progress today.”
If you feel like it, you could even tell yourself “Victory!” or “Success!” each time you do your new habit.
I haven’t done this myself, but some people swear by it.
Eat a healthy meal. “Success!”
Do five pushups. “Good work!”
Give yourself some credit and enjoy each success.
Pilates Fit Perth is offering 10% off a 3 x weekly membership that yes commits you to a new habit.
So once you finish work each evening before you go home you can come to a Pilates class and fit in your new routine.