What is a habit? What do you think of when you hear the word habit? If you’re like most people, you hear the word habit and associate something negative with it. Smoking, overeating, and always being late are all negative habits.
However, habits can and do show up as positive, if you know how to train yourself toward this goal. A habit doesn’t have to have negative associations. Many people, in addition to thinking habits are bad, also think new habits are painful. This does not have to be true either.
Once you see how habits are beneficial to you and how they will change your life for the better, you will live a fuller, more productive life.
The Idea of Habits
Before you begin thinking about habits, it’s important to look at your perception on habits. It all starts with your mindset.
We all put habits into two categories: good or bad. A bad habit is one which needs to be changed or completely deleted from our lives. A good habit is something we need to or should have or have to create.
Once you begin to see how your association with habits resonates, then you can begin to change them for the better. When you begin to think about habits, start thinking of them as a new creation rather than something which needs to get done.
When we think of something as need or should or have to, we automatically fight against ourselves. Habits are neither good nor bad. They just are.
Ending old ones
Before taking on the creation of new habits, it’s important to take a look at some of your old habits. Without judging them as either good or bad, simply take a step back and see which ones aren’t working for you.
More importantly, which ones are not working for your life? Do you stay up too late and can’t get up in the morning? If you’re like most folks, this one rings true for you. Are you late just about everywhere you go? If so, you are most certainly not alone.
Being late all the time is simply a habit, and one which you can change over time. Rather than focus on not being late, focus on being on time. It sounds odd, but it’s a shift in perception that takes the focus off the negative and puts it in the positive realm.
When your mind attaches to a positive outcome, it can then create success and momentum. When your mind thinks something is a chore, it will fight you tooth and nail to make sure it doesn’t get accomplished.
If you need to create the new habit of being on time, start with ending the old habit – staying up too late. Begin going to bed 15 minutes earlier each night, and do that until it becomes a new habit. When you get the proper amount of sleep, you can then focus on the new creation of being on time.
Creating new ones
Once you have identified the old habit as not being one that works, you can then go on to create a new habit from that point. Identify the old habit, clear it out and then move forward to the creation of a new habit.
In the example of being on time, set a goal to be on time and give it a specific and measurable amount of time. For example, write down on a to-do list you will be on time for three appointments this week.
Take it one step further, and make a declaration to someone you will be on time for three appointments this week. Keep going. Ask someone to hold you accountable for this new habit. When you have put it down on paper, it appears as something you will do and accomplish, as opposed to something you will do someday.
Once you declare it, now you are holding yourself to the task to be, and keep your word. Having someone check in with you is a great way to admit you are not keeping your word, or you are keeping your word and happily so.
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