[Eddie Morra]: “I wasn’t high. I wasn’t wired. Just clear. I knew what I needed to do and how to do it. And that day, I made a decision. From now on, I’m gonna be too busy putting my life back together…to waste time on things that don’t matter. So I’m starting with the first thing that’s been in front of my face my whole life. Me.”
– Limitless (2011)
Habits are an essential part of our daily lives. They shape our behavior, thoughts, and ultimately our outcomes. I will explore the process of building a new habit and the importance of doing so. I am also providing insights into the science behind habits and practical strategies on how to create, build, and, more important, maintain them.
What’s An Habit
A habit is a regular and automatic behavior that is repeated often enough to become ingrained in a person’s routine.
Habits can be positive or negative, and they are often formed through repeated actions or experiences that become automatic over time.
Examples of habits include brushing your teeth before bed, exercising daily, checking your phone as soon as you wake up, and biting your nails when you’re nervous.
Understanding Habits: The Neuroscience of Habits
When we perform a habitual behavior, it triggers a sequence of neural activity that becomes more efficient over time. This sequence of activity is known as a habit loop, which includes a cue, routine, and reward.
The cue is a trigger that signals the brain to begin the routine, which is the behavior itself. The reward is the positive outcome that reinforces the behavior and makes it more likely to be repeated in the future. As we repeat this habit loop, the neural connections associated with the behavior become stronger and more automatic, making the behavior a habit.
Take into account that James Clear went deeper, and he shares the 4 habit loop: Cue – Craving – Reward – Response. “The cue is about noticing the reward. The craving is about wanting the reward. The response is about obtaining the reward.”
In the brain, habits are primarily controlled by the basal ganglia, a region responsible for motor control and the formation of habits. The basal ganglia is influenced by the prefrontal cortex, which is responsible for decision-making and goal-setting. When we establish a new habit, it initially requires effort and attention from the prefrontal cortex. But over time, the habit becomes more automatic and requires less conscious effort.
By leveraging the power of the habit loop and making intentional changes to our habits, we can create lasting changes in our behavior and our lives.
Identifying Your Desired Habit
To identify the habit you want to build, here are some steps you can follow:
- Reflect on your goals: Start by thinking about what you want to achieve in your life. What areas do you want to improve on? What habits could help you get there?
- Consider your values: Your habits should align with your values and principles. Think about what matters to you and what kind of person you want to be.
- Observe your current habits: Pay attention to your current habits and routines. Which ones are serving you well, and which ones are holding you back?
- Identify a small, actionable habit: Choose a habit that is SMART: specific, measurable, achievable, and time-bound. Start with a small habit that you can build on over time.
- Prioritize your habit: Decide which habit is most important to you, and focus on building that one first. You can always add more habits later.
By taking these steps, you can identify a habit that aligns with your goals and values and is achievable for you to build. This will set you up for success as you work towards creating positive changes in your life.
How To Build A New Habit
“Every action you take is a vote for the type of person you wish to become.”
– James Clear, Atomic Habits.
If we want to know how to build a new habit, we should read the master of building new habits, James Clear. Mr. Clear wrote a powerful book called “Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones.” It covers a wide range of topics related to building and sustaining new habits, including the science behind habits, how to set goals and create a plan for your habit, the role of environment and context in shaping habits, and strategies for staying motivated and avoiding common pitfalls.
Clear emphasizes the importance of making small, incremental changes over time and provides practical advice and actionable steps for readers to follow. He also includes case studies and real-world examples to illustrate his points and make the concepts more relatable.
Overall, “Atomic Habits” is a comprehensive and accessible guide to building new habits that has resonated with readers and received widespread praise for its clear and practical advice.
But let’s take a look at the strategies he shares in his book Atomic Habits:
1. Start with small habits
Start with small, easy-to-do habits that you can build on over time.
2. Make your habit obvious
Create a clear and visible reminder of your habit, such as placing your workout clothes by your bed.
3. Make your habit attractive
Tie your habit to a reward or something enjoyable to make it more appealing.
4. Make your habit easy
Break your habit down into smaller, manageable tasks to make it easier to accomplish.
5. Make your habit satisfying
Celebrate your progress and successes along the way to keep yourself motivated and inspired.
6. Use environment design
Set up your environment to support your habit, such as keeping healthy food in your fridge or setting up a designated workspace.
7. Use temptation bundling
Pair a habit you want to build with a habit you already enjoy, such as listening to an audiobook while you exercise.
8. Use habit stacking
Add a new habit to an existing routine, such as meditating for a few minutes after you brush your teeth.
9. Use implementation intentions
Plan ahead for obstacles and challenges that may arise and develop strategies for overcoming them.
10. Make your habit a part of your identity
Focus on who you want to become and make your habits a reflection of that identity.
Maintaining Your Habit
Maintaining a habit can be challenging, but there are some strategies you can use to make it easier. Here are a few tips to help you maintain a habit:
1)Set specific, achievable goals: Make sure your goals are clear and attainable. For example, instead of saying you want to exercise more, set a goal to exercise for 30 minutes a day, three times a week.
Example: Decide to read for 20 minutes every day.
2) Create a routine: Habits are easier to maintain when they become part of your daily routine. Choose a specific time and place to perform your habit, and try to stick to that schedule as much as possible.
Example: Choose a specific time and place to read, such as right before bed or during your lunch break.
3) Track your progress: Keep track of your progress, so you can see how far you’ve come. You can use a journal, an app, or a habit tracker to monitor your progress.
Example: Use a reading log to keep track of the books you’ve read and how much time you’ve spent reading.
4) Find an accountability partner: Having someone to hold you accountable can be a powerful motivator. Find a friend or family member who shares your goals and can help keep you on track.
Example: Join a book club or find a friend who enjoys reading and discuss the books you’ve read together.
5) Celebrate your successes: Celebrate your achievements along the way. Treat yourself to something you enjoy, or take a moment to reflect on how far you’ve come.
Example: Treat yourself to a new book or a cozy reading spot when you reach a reading milestone, such as finishing a book