The Power of Habit Transformation and How To Make Habits Stick
Being able to develop powerful habits is really at the core of maximizing your performance as well as maximizing your ability to get more done in less time. Change can be hard but the power of habit transformation is so powerful and that’s why I have broken down some of my favorite advice on how to hack your habits to make them stick.
So why is breaking bad habits and creating new ones that serve you better so hard to do?
Well according to James Clear Habit Transformation Expert (find out more about James HERE) one of the major barriers to long term transformation is your mindset. We try to change our behavior, eat less, exercise more, however we don’t always work on our mindset, our beliefs and our identity.
I know this all too well as I’ve received my master’s certification in NLP and Brain Strategies. As I learned from the top expert in the world, all long term transformation stems from shifting your identity.
So why is our mindset so important?
Well, if what you believe your identity to be is not inline with the behaviors you want to change it will be hard to sustain the behavior long term. If you see yourself and believe yourself to be a healthy person then it will be a lot easier to implement a habit of exercise as this is in alignment with your core belief about yourself.
However if you believe yourself to be an unhealthy or fat person then you need to first start working on how you see yourself so to make sure it’s in alignment with the habit you want to develop.
The power of habit is that it is the results of lots of tiny decisions that you make every day that makes the difference. And then what you do every day transform you into the person you are or the person you want to be.
So what can you start doing today to hack your habit transformation?
1. Start Small
Leo Babulta talks about this a lot on his site Zen Habits. Often we get excited and want to make major changes all at once. We set a crazy goal or new years resolution that we are sure we are going to stick to. But once the excitement dies down so does our consistency with our new habit until it gets added to next years new years resolutions.
Start really small.
Set yourself up to win.
And focus on achieving a behavior rather than a larger goal.
So for example say you want to run a marathon but you currently don’t run at all. Each day you think about starting running, but so far you haven’t managed to fit it into your day.
Start really small. So small that it’s almost impossible not to complete the behavior. So for the first week all you need to do is put on your running shoes and open the front door. That’s all. No running required just put on your shoes, open the door and then go back to bed if you want to.
The next week, you put the shoes on, open the door and just run round the block. Only 5 minutes worth. But now you are starting to develop the habit of getting up and getting your shoes on and are much more likely to finally get to completing a marathon than with an all or nothing mentality.
When I first started working with people 9 years ago, I wanted them to get results fast! So I would have them working on making 7-10 changes after our consultations. This was not a strategy for success! People got frustrated, beat themselves up internally and then typically moved in the opposite direction. When I started to getting my health participants to implement one main thing at a time, the results went through the roof.
2. Habit Stacking
Habit stacking really helps to make it even easier to get new habits to stick. So what is habit stacking?
Simply adding new behaviors you want to implement to habits that you already have ingrained into your day.
For example maybe you want to drink more water. So think of something you do every day, maybe its getting phone calls. So every time you answer the phone have a glass of water.
A great way to do this is to write a list of all the things you do every day. Brush your teeth, have dinner, drive to work etc. Then write another list of habits you want to incorporate into your life. And add a new habit to an old habit. Whenever you do one of your everyday tasks it will then trigger you to complete your new behavior.
3. Change Your Environment
Your environment has a massive impact on whether you actually make a lasting change in your life. Jim Rohn says you are the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with and it’s sooo true. And it’s not only the people you spend time with but everything within your experience, within your day can have an impact on your behavior.
Often current habits are responses to queues and triggers that you may not even be aware of that you come across in your current environment.
4. Don’t Go It Alone
Accountability can be really great for creating new habits. Share your desire to start something new with a friend or family member who can help keep you accountable. Also saying your desire out loud often makes it seem more real in your own mind and helps you to believe the change is actually really possible.
This is why people get the transformations with Designer Health Centers that they do, because we gamify the approach to transformation and keep people accountable.
5. Replace Bad Habits
Breaking bad habits is much easier if instead of focusing on breaking the bad habit you focus on replacing the habit with a good habit. Lets take diet as an example here. Rather than focusing on eliminating sugar from your diet, focus on filling up completely with healthy fats and vegetables and drinking enough water. You may just find your sugar habit gets crowded out!
6. Track Your Habits
Track your bad habits and your good habits. Tracking anything brings more awareness to what you are actually doing and can help you make changes. Food diaries are a really great example of this. Just writing down what you eat has been shown to often help people reduce the amount of food they are eating without even trying.
The process of tracking and being more aware actually influences the behavior. Remember however that you are simply tracking your habits to have information to be able to increase awareness and make a change.
Don’t judge yourself or feel guilty.
Treat it as an experiment with an outcome and you can update the experiment if you don’t get an outcome you are happy with.
Make sure you reward yourself for each small achievement. Think “Success” every single time you put your running shoes on. Until you no longer think about it and it’s just something that you do every week.
There was a lot of information about habits in this article and I hope you find it really valuable. As always though, information is nothing without action.
So share with us in the comments below.
What is the one habit you are going to commit to changing this week? Just one, start small and share for accountability in the comments!
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