How to Establish the Change of Habit?
While there is a bunch of books on how to establish positive habits and how it can change your life, we rarely can find a book that honestly teaches you to reinforce a good one by giving up something bad, and even rarer is a book that forces you to quit a bad habit of your own. Despite the great number of books that are related to breaking the habit for living a better and healthier life, most of them have a copy-pasted pattern of “be strong, wake up tomorrow, and stop doing …”. But it doesn’t really work that way.
Reasons to Change Habits
- The science of a bad habit
We, and by that pronoun I refer to the vast majority of human beings, tend to repeat things that bring us happiness, relief, or at least let us forget something. This way, you can name all addictions, including video games, eating sugary snacks, or watching too many TV shows are born in the same part of your brain: pleasure center. Your mind learns that certain actions bring pleasure without being forced to do a lot, and that sets the ground for a potential habit. This means that current pleasure is more important for your brain compared to the long-term outcome.
The problem is that one bad habit brings you to the next one. If you get used to watching TV shows, munching snack you are most likely to be skipping a workout. Once you get used to missing a workout, you will find it harder to wake up in the morning. Once the oversleeping is established as a habit, you will have to drink more coffee in the morning. I guess you know what I mean.
- Change of habit (or heart and mind to be more precise)
While replacing a habit is a complicated task on its own, you have to remember that it is much easier to replace a bad habit with a good one rather than destroying an old one and then taking time to build something good.
- Stop the judgment
The first step of the procedure we can call “how to develop good habits in life” is to stop judging, tormenting, and humbling yourself. You have most likely tried to change something already, failed, and now feel desperate. But don’t let yourself get too depressed! First, locate (if possible) the reason for your bad habit. Next, learn what the connection between the habit itself and the reason you have found is. If possible, fix the reason or at least learn why it makes you feel the way you feel.
- Change your focus
If you look for “how to form a habit a scientific approach” in Google, you are most likely to find a recommendation on how to quit smoking using nicotine patches; however, this is not what you need. Let’s take the same example we had earlier.
First, replace the unhealthy foods with something better: baby carrots, apples, nuts, seeds, etc. Once you get used to healthy alternatives, take one day a week and watch a learning video instead of a trashy show. Make it twice the next week. However, give yourself a day or two when you can watch something on Netflix (let’s call it a cheat watch). After that, add a small workout once a week. And so on.
- Master a habit of creating new habits
We live in a fast-changing world, where your life can take a complete turnaround in a year or so, so the habit formation psychology suggests you need to learn how to bring new practices to our lives. The sooner you learn how to change the way you live, the better your life might be in future. Moreover, in order to master a new skill set, you will need less time, so it would be also beneficial for your studying/work.
- Master one good habit for the student every week
Here is a list of personal habits that can help you transform your life without taking too much time:
- get outside. Spend at least 15 minutes a day outside (walk in the park or around your dorm);
- find people who share your beliefs and spend some time together;
- establish a sleeping routine;
- create a studying or revision schedule;
- Organize your notes the week you took them.
As you can see, replacing a habit instead of dealing with a bad habit on your own is so much easier. However, the key component is a desire to change your life for better!