How to Develop Conscious Habits.
Many of our problems would be resolved if we just formed the right habits and stuck to them. However, we do not bring all of who we are to help us create new habits and we end up abandoning the very habits that we know would make us happier.
The most important thing in developing a new habit is to be conscious about it. Realize that what you are doing is programming your brain as if you are programming a computer. Repetition is what creates a habit. However, repetition can feel mundane and ineffective.
Practice mindfulness as you develop a new habit and understand that it takes your body and mind time to take on this new programing. So, start out slow and in bite sized increments. Be focused on enjoying the new experience. Even when the experience starts feeling repetitive, take the time to connect with the vision of what you intend. As with most things, begin the pursuit of the particular habit with the end in mind.
You have heard that it takes 21 days to form a new habit. You have also heard that it may actually take 28 days. In 1960, a plastic surgeon, Dr. Maxwell Maltz noticed that amputees took an average of 21 days to adjust to the loss of a limb and he proposed that it takes people an average of 21 days to adjust to any new change.
However, new research recently published in the European Journal of Social Psychology, details the findings of a study done with 96 people who were interested in forming a new habit each day such as eating a piece of fruit with lunch or doing a 15 minute run each day. Each participant was asked to rate how automatic the activity felt each day and that ranged from “hard not to do” and “done without thinking.” On average, the participants reached a plateau where the habit was automatic after 66 days.
Therefore, when you are creating a new habit, stick with it, every day if possible, for at least two months or more. Start developing meaningful and mindful rituals that signal certain emotions to your brain. For instance, meditating daily for as little as 15 minutes is proven to have significant impact on your level of stress and coping capacity.
Also, be sure to include in your habits play and fun, creative expression and new experiences. We are a product of our thoughts beliefs and emotions. It is important to bring all these three factors into your quest to develop new habits and make the necessary changes.
If you take a habit and stay on it for at least two months on a daily basis, at the end of the year you would have acquired six new habits. Here are habits that are life enhancing and will support you in the long term:
~Daily movement or exercise.
~Drinking adequate amounts of water daily.
~Eating at least one piece of fruit every day.
~Eliminating the white stuff from your nourishment.
~Eating fresh veggies every day.
~Listening to soothing music every day.
~Meditating every day.
~Daily laughter and playtime.
~Reading and absorbing affirmations.
~Enjoying your hobby each and every day.
~Being more positive in your thinking.
I encourage you to only work on one habit at a time for at least thirty days before you add another habit. This way, you get used to the habit. However, remember, stick with each habit for at least sixty days for maximum effect.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
This article is part of a 40 page report by the author on "How to Reinvent Yourself at Midlife and Maintain Your Sanity." If you would like a free copy of the full report, please visit http://www.CoachIyabo.com/reinvent
Iyabo Asani is a life and business coach. A former lawyer, she left the practice of law after twenty years and now, she helps empower smart boomers create businesses and attract abundance by discovering the gifts and talents of their Inner Genius.