Forming New Habits

So, what’s the secret formula to form a new habit?

Creating a new habit  can be seen as creating a path of worn grass in a public lawn. If you walk through a path once, it won’t do anything to the grass. If you walk for 5 days, you might get something that resembles a path, but if you stop doing it, the lawn will quickly recover and your path will disappear. What if you walk through the same path, everyday, during a month? You’ll probably create a permanent “worn grass” path!

The key is repetition: you have to repeat the behavior consistently, until the pathways become etched in your brain. Avoid skipping, you should do it on regular basis.

How long should it take to get a habit?

It takes time, and you should be patient.  Again, back to the grass analogy, you can’t create a path by stepping on it just once. A week is not enough either. Maybe two weeks?  I’m pretty sure you can do it in three weeks!

What else can you do to facilitate the process?

Reward yourself. Associating some form of reward  during your habit formation will make the process much easier. You can be creative and setup any kind of reward you can think of.   For example, allow you to browse your favorite websites, play  your favorite video game, eat your favorite snack, only after you’ve performed your daily dosage of your “new habit”.

Keeping track of your progress is also a form of reward, it gives you a sense of control. Write down a list stating your progress “Day 1…Day 2…Day 3…” and post it somewhere  in the house where other members of the family can see it. Making others aware of your accomplishments can be a valuable reward.