Forming a new habit is not easy. You get up for your morning runs for 2 days straight and then the 3rd day you say you will go tomorrow. The 4th day you slept late the previous night and you think that you should probably not exercise in a sleep deprived state. By day 5 you have given up and have reset your alarm to its previous time.
There seems to be something in our psyche that resists change.. that resists new habits. After much research we have been told that new habits can take anywhere from 21 days to 66 days. Want to know the shortcut? It involves tricking your mind!
1. First you make your mind accept that the running will happen. No matter what state your body is in, when the alarm bells rings, you will go out to jog.
In fact your mind should be so attuned to the fact that it has to go jogging in the morning that as soon as the alarm goes off, there are no thoughts in your head about ‘if you should even bother’. Your brain should already be working on how to quietly get out of bed without disturbing your other half or thinking about where you left your running shoes from yesterday.
You see the trick?! Don’t allow your brain to question, argue or reason. Our brains are sometimes too smart for their own good.
2. Now the second thing you have to do is make it so easy that you cannot say no to it. Tell yourself that you will get up in the morning and go out for a walk as soon as you get up. Once you have done that for a few days, you can start thinking about then taking it up a few notches by starting to jog and then in a few days graduate to running your way around the block. The trick is to start small and let your mind be comfortable about the new habit.
3. The third jedi mind trick is to tell yourself that you have to do something because that just is the kind of person you are. For example, ‘I am the kind of person who never misses his morning runs’ or ‘I am the kind of person who keeps all their clothes neatly folded in the closet’ (yup, I am telling myself this these days 😀 ).
Repeat your affirmation to yourself and make it a positive one. Your brain cannot argue – this is what makes you YOU and there are no two ways about it.
This works because the things you do now will make you the person you want to be. No one had overnight success with their health, wealth or relationships. All of these require consistent effort of habits over years.
If you believe that you are a healthy, neat and trustworthy person then your habits will slowly reflect that. Your brain will work to make you that person that you believe you are. So what do you want to change? 🙂
PS: This article is inspired by James Clear’s ‘Transform your habits’. While reading it I had an epiphany of sorts that this was it. I decided to try it out and over the last few weeks have now stopped consuming tea /coffee (pulling together a post on that soon) and also I have used it to make sure I go out for my evening walks (more than the exercise, I need my vitamin-Sun 😉 ). If you want to read the full guide by James Clear – it is available for free download here.