Do you have a habit that you have been trying to get rid of? Or maybe you have a habit that you are happy you have gained over the years? Maybe you have a habit that you don’t even realize you have. Habits are an integral part of our lives that we probably cannot live without. They are things we do automatically, without having to think about it. Habits can be troublesome or helpful. Developing habits only takes time. Five suggestions on controlling your habits are included in this list to help you add to your list of good habits and eliminate bad habits.
Controlling your habits
Gaining control over your habits can lead to a more productive lifestyle, without the extra effort. If you have habits that are beneficial to you, you will live a healthier, happier, and more fruitful life. You probably already have a good understanding of the habits that you have. You probably know your bad habits, and you already benefit from your good habits probably without noticing. Being able to be in charge of your habits can be done by learning how to create habits, change habits, and eliminate habits. Some habits will be difficult to control, and there are techniques to learn so it becomes easier. Controlling your habits is key to getting things done day in and day out. Decide today that you will take control of your habits. Take a week or so and really concentrate on what you do daily and how you do those things. Focusing on the habits you have will reveal where your habits are flawed.
Creating a new habit
Creating new habits is difficult, especially if you are trying to replace an old habit with the new habit. There is a method, though, to be successful. Habits can be created by doing something for one month. If you begin going out for drinks after work every Thursday, after four Thursdays, your brain will end up thinking on Thursday it is time for drinks after work. Creating habits from scratch is not terribly difficult. You must first consciously, or unconsciously, decide the habit you will form. Write down the new habit. Repeat this new habit for one month, and it becomes automatic. It is helpful to remind yourself to complete the new habit if you connect the new habit with a habit you already have.
If you want to start stating the Pledge of Allegiance every morning, you must first make the decision to do it. Write down your new habit and place it somewhere that you will see it. Say the Pledge of Allegiance every morning for a month, and you will have created a new habit. If you are forgetting to say the Pledge, it is helpful to connect saying the Pledge with something you already do, such as packing your lunch. If you connect packing your lunch with saying the Pledge of Allegiance, you will end up doing both, because you already pack your lunch every day.
Stopping a bad habit
Trying to stop doing something that you habitually have done for a long time can be challenging. Eliminating a habit, again, takes conscious effort. As with creating a habit, writing down the bad habit is helpful. Eliminating this bad habit for one month will be effective. It is also helpful to remind yourself to stop the bad habit if you create a new habit.
Say, for instance, you want to discontinue buying candy at the store in the checkout line. Make the commitment to stop this action by writing it down and place it in a place you will see when you are in the checkout line, such as your wallet or purse. Decide that instead of picking out a candy, you should read a magazine while waiting in line. Read the magazine in line at the grocery store instead of buy a piece of candy for one month, and the habit of throwing a piece of candy onto the conveyor belt will be long gone.
Replacing an old habit with a new one
This is the most difficult way of forming a habit. Your brain tells you to do things the old way, but your must concentrate each occurrence to complete the task in the newer, more positive way. The key to replacing an old habit with a new one is training. You must train your brain that the old way is no longer acceptable and the new way is the only way. To do this, you must take the time to reinforce your actions.
For example, if you currently leave the dishes in the sink after you eat breakfast. You might want to change this habit if the dishes sit in the sink all day long. To make the change, you have to consciously make the decision that you will force yourself to change. After this commitment is made, make a plan of you new habit: “After breakfast, I will put the dishes into the dishwasher.” Writing this change down is also helpful, and put it somewhere where you see it all the time. You will need a positive reinforcement, such as, each time you do put the dishes in the dish washer, you earn yourself a reward, such as extra spending money or a piece of candy. Every day, you must consciously think about not putting your dishes in the sink, but putting them into the dishwasher. Earning your reward will remind you throughout the weeks of the positive habit you are forming. After the habit forms, you will end up putting the dishes in the dishwasher and you will no longer have to reward yourself, because you will do it without thinking.
Creating habits from new situations
Creating habits from new situations is the easiest way to gain constructive habits. If something changes dramatically in your life, you will end up changing with it. Habits will form, but the key is to control these habits so that they have a positive influence in your life, rather than become a bad habit. Moving to a new house or starting a new job would be two examples of new situations that can grow habits. When these types of situations occur, take time to notice the decisions you are making, and stop the negative ones right off the bat, so they do not become habits after time.
If you move into a new house and start tossing your clothes onto the floor in your new closet, this will continue and become a norm. It will be much easier to create a habit in your new closet on day one by putting the clothes on a hanger or in the hamper right from the beginning. After a month, you will not even notice that you take care of this everyday without even thinking. The change does not always have to be a big life-changing event, though. For examples, if you switch banks, this is a good opportunity to create positive habits, rather than negative ones. Make a habit to do the important things every day or every week right from the start. Check the transactions daily, pay your bills on time monthly, and make appointments with the banker for you investments regularly. So after a few months, the new situation will be a habitual one, with you automatically influencing your bank accounts positively. Take the opportunity to form beneficial habits when changes happen in your life.