When you close your eyes and picture your ideal self or your perfect life what do you see? What goals do you want to achieve this year? Do they seem far off or difficult? They don’t have to be. Creating lasting and healthy habits to reach your goals is a fantastic way to reach your objectives and desires.
What is a habit? A habit is a fixed or regular way of behaving that is routine and it also tends to be embedded in a person’s subconscious.
How does a habit differ from a goal? A goal is a desired result or something that you work toward.
The difference between the two is that the habit is a thing that will change the direction that your are headed. The habit is what will help you reach your goals!
So if you’re wondering how to achieve your goals and dreams, you have to understand how our daily habits affect our life.
How To Reach Your Goals By Creating Lasting Habits
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How Can Habits Affect Your Life?
Habits are our brain’s way of making the little behaviors of daily life into automated activities. They turn them into automatic actions that require less thought production. This frees up the brain to focus on other, more important functions. These habits work out to be considered, socially good or bad habits. The more we, as humans, engage in these types of daily automatic actions, the more engrained the habits become and also the harder they are to break.
The same is true for creating habits. The more time we spend engaging in daily activities, attempting to create a habit, the more engrained that habit becomes in our subconscious. If you are trying to break a bad habit, or create a lasting good/ healthy habit, you will need to spend some time and energy to do so.
The 4 Step Process to Creating Healthy Habits
The process of creating a new habit involves a 4 step process. These steps include:
- Response, and
Cue: The cue stage is when your brain is triggered to behave a certain way.
Craving: The craving stage is the desire and motivation to behave. This is the drive behind the habit.
Response: The response stage is the actual performance of the behavior. The habit is executed at this stage.
Reward: The reward stage is where the feedback loop is created. This is where the habit is rewarded and is fed to continue. The reward satisfies the craving and thereby feeds the response.
*It is clear how bad and unhealthy habits are created with this cycle. But, how do you create a healthy habit? Look for the rewards!
Creating A Lasting and Healthy Habit
How Long Does It Take to Create a New Habit?
It can take the average person anywhere from 18 to 254 days to create a new habit. It is wise to give yourself at least 30 days when committing to a brand new healthy habit.
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The Steps to Creating New Habits
Make a Decision
Set your goal and make a decision. Choose which behavior you want to engage in, whether it be eating three healthy meals a day, exercising daily, drinking more water, calling a friend, or journaling. Whatever your personal goal is, set it and write it down. Commit to it.
Set a Timeframe
Set aside at least 30 days as a commitment to make this behavioral change. You can do anything for 30 days. Use a new calendar to track your progress and hold yourself accountable.
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Tell Others About Your New Habit
Don’t forget to use your support network. That is what they are there for. Change is always better with friends, so reach out if you find yourself struggling. Maybe your friends and family will be willing to join in on your journey with you. This will only multiply the chances of you reaching a successful outcome.
Visualization is a fantastic technique to assist in habit formation. Visualization will assist you in further recognizing resources, support systems, and situations on your journey to creating your healthy habit. You can also visualize yourself in the practice of the actual healthy behavior. This can further your progress and reduce any anxiety that you may be facing in the process.
Make a Plan For Obstacles
There will always be bumps in the road. This is especially true when learning or trying something new. The more prepared you are on this journey to self improvement, the quicker you will be able to overcome any obstacles. When you spend time visualizing, spend time also thinking about anything that may get in the way of you reaching your goals or stopping your habit forming process.
Negative thoughts are a big one here to look out for. Sometimes time is a factor. Are you not reaping rewards quite as quickly as you thought you would? Maybe this is when you need to reach out to your support network. Have several tools in place for these foreseeable obstacles. This will help you in your overall outcomes.
Create a Reward System
This is the fun part, but sometimes the most overlooked part. Sometimes we, as humans, forget to give ourselves a pat on the back. We are very quick to point out what we are doing wrong, but rarely do we speak up when we’re doing something right. What we need to do is look in the mirror sometimes and point out all of the small accomplishments, because they’re worth celebrating just as much as the big ones.
When you start on this expedition of self, remember to create a reward system. It doesn’t have to be monetary or food related. Take yourself to a movie. Meet a friend for coffee. Go on a walk by the lake or ocean. Or treat yourself to something special you’ve been eyeing. Do something to reward your spirit and smile. You deserve it. You are great and you are doing great things for yourself!
Make the New Habit Part of Who You Are
This one is important! You have now created a habit. Don’t lose it. It was a trek to get here. You have spent the time, you have put in the effort. Now it’s time to make this habit part of who you are.
What I mean by this is make this action part of what makes you who you are. If your habit was running every day, for instance, you are now “a runner.” It is as simple as that. See yourself as you want to be seen and you will start to live how you want to live.
Now that you understand how to use the steps to create healthy and lasting habits, there is nothing to stop you in creating the life you have always wanted. Set new goals for this year. Take baby steps. Rome wasn’t built in a day. Take it easy on yourself, believe in yourself, and don’t forget to implement a reward system. You are a great person who is doing great things.