“Making space for new behavior requires challenging YOUR status quo”.
– Terrie Elizabeth Reeves
Harvard link at bottom of page.
Change is hard and requires some degree of disruption, and who wants disruption? Have you ever considered challenging your behavior by letting go of an old habit that is not serving your greater good to make room for a one that is? If you have, then you know disruption is uncomfortable but part of the process. Habits are like Velcro because they are familiar patterns of behavior that can feel sticky. When you repeat patterns of behavior over and over again they become deep-rooted and imprinted in your brain. Behavior can become so ingrained that you don’t even know you are doing it. It is like moving through life on autopilot, and in some cases you are. Like information on a computer, habits become hardwired. Unfortunately, you can’t “wipe” your brain like a computer but you can upload new behavior and begin integrating new habits into your life.
So, think about one thing that is not serving your higher good, and consider a new habit you can do when you find yourself falling into that sticky familiar territory. Example: If you tend to reach for unhealthy snacks late at night see if you can pause and redirect your attention to a new “replacement habit”. You could call a friend, go outside for 5 minutes and spend time in nature, journal about a positive experience you had, take your dog for a walk, or just pause and take 10 deep breaths and notice how you feel. None of these actions require a lot of time or effort and all could be considered healthy habits. Replacing old habits with new ones is part of the equation, but there are a few more steps to consider.
The first step is awareness. Learning to observe your actions as part of a behavioral pattern and identifying what initially triggered your behavior is key. Imagine a wave of dominos falling one by one. What put the wave in motion? Getting to the root cause requires you to look a little closer, which is where a lot of people get stuck. Most people need help getting past this phase. There is a change process you can follow that will help?
Click the below link to access a Harvard article called, Trade bad habits for good. It is a 3-minute read and it will provide a solid roadmap to follow if you are ready to take action. Changing behavior isn’t easy but it is possible. It takes about 90 days to create a new habit, but isn’t the quality of your life worth the effort?
CLICK HERE to see what Harvard has to say about forming new habits. Understanding the three Rs —reminder, routine, and reward—can help you create healthful habits.