It is completely a myth that new habits are formed because of willpower. We often hear people say “I just don’t have enough willpower to make this change.” Well...that's not entirely true. The most important thing to consider when attempting to form new habits is the actual science behind forming new habits.
The thing about habits is that they are very automatic and unconscious. We generally don’t think much when we are engaging in our most solidified habits, which is why it has very little to do with willpower. That is the goals when forming new habits. We want this behavior to become automatic and unconscious, and there are many researched based strategies that can help us achieve this. This article will talk about two strategies that will help you form a new habit.
Remove Barriers and Obstacles
The first thing to consider when attempting to form new habits is the level of difficulty. If there are a lot of barriers between you and the change you want to make, or if there is a lot of friction while you are attempting to make this change, then the likelihood is that this change may not form into a habit. It's best to think about how to take the level of difficulty from high to low. How do we remove all the barriers that live between you and this change so that there does not need to be a lot of excessive effort.
For example, if you want to form a habit of going to the gym more frequently, you should choose a gym that is 1 mile away from your house instead of the gym that is 10 miles away. This is because it is easier to get to the closest gym. In this scenario, time and distance are barriers and we want to eliminate them as much as possible.
Another example- If you want to form a habit of drinking more water, you need to make sure you have a water bottle readily available to you at all times. You shouldn’t leave your water bottle downstairs or in a different room. Keeping the bottle or other means of accessing water nearby makes it easier to actually consume the water and removes any barriers related to inaccessibility to water.
Repetition Is Key
The second thing to consider when attempting to form a new habit is repetition, or how repetitively are you engaging in this change. If you are only engaging in this new changed behavior once a week, once a month, or even less frequent, the likelihood of this becoming a habit is very low. However, if you are engaging in this new change frequently, i.e. multiple times per day or at least once a day, then the likelihood of this change becoming a habit is even higher. So repetition is key! We want this change to be something that is occurring over and over again until it becomes more automatic and unconscious.
Are you feeling ready to form better habits and work toward your personal development goals?
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Dr. Amber Thornton
Clinical Psychologist | Personal Development Consultant | Balanced Working Mama Coach | Speaker | Mental Health Expert
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