Are you aware of how many habits you actually have? Probably not because a habit is something that is performed in your subconscious. It is only when you are trying to form or break a habit that you become aware of your actions. Habits can be seen as both good and bad things. This will depend on how they are affecting your life.
Some of the habits you already have include all your daily routines such as:
- Getting dressed
- Taking a shower
- Brushing your teeth
- Knowing exactly how to get to and from work
- Washing the dishes
- Doing the laundry
- Making your bed after getting dressed…and the list goes on
You don’t even have to think about these things as your mind has become accustomed to your routine. Can you imagine the effort needed to actively remember how to do each step of those chores? You would end up completely exhausted at the end of every day.
Problems arise when you are trying to form a new habit. You may want to lose 10 pounds, or you wish that your kitchen counters would be less cluttered. Both of these take time and effort to change. To keep those counters clear you would need to form a habit of finding homes for those items. This might include filing your bills, getting the kids to not leave their homework there. Or having everyone put their dishes into the dishwasher each night.
These are all small things, but you need to set up a routine so you can keep your kitchen clean and tidy. Research indicates that it takes approximately 3 to 4 weeks to form a good habit. This means for one month you need to make a huge effort into performing these tasks. After this time the effort will seem like less, just because your mind is becoming accustomed to your new actions.
If you are trying to form a good habit it can be extremely helpful to have reminders around your home. For example if you want to lose weight to fit into a specific garment, leave your dress or trousers out where it acts as a reminder. Another idea is to write notes and leave them around your home. Maybe on the fridge door, so when you feel like snacking, you are reminded of why you are trying to lose weight.
If exercising is your new habit, remind yourself during the day that when you get home you are going to enjoy a walk. View the task as something enjoyable, not something that has to be done. This way you will look forward to getting home and walking after dinner. Remember that the more you repeat this process the quicker the habit will form.
You can find out more about changing bad habits and acquiring good ones in my new ebook The Incredible Power of Habit now available in the Mum’s the Boss bookstore