21 days to Success: The Secret to Creating New Habits
Research reveals that 21 days are all it takes to adopt and cement a new habit, and channel a positive change into your life. A new habit could be anything, for instance, going for a jog every work morning before work, reading more books, quit smoking, quit drinking too much wine, lose weight or even work on a manuscript.
Habits are often regarded as complex patterns of behavior and many of us feel demotivated to leave certain habits and adopt certain others. However, psychological experts explain that a habit is simply a behavior that is reinforced through consistency, practice, repetition, reaffirmations and reinforcement.
Let’s take a look at some strategies to help you develop a new habit in 21 days:
Take a Firm Stand
It is important make a firm decision to break free from a habit, or channel a positive change that you feel necessary. For instance, whether you want to quit smoking or begin your day with an early morning jog, create a schedule and make changes to accommodate and facilitate this life-change. You can set an early morning alarm to make sure you get up, and quell the urge you smoke with a hot cup of green tea or some nicotine gums perhaps.
For the first 21 days, it is important to keep yourself determined and motivated, and make no room for allowances or exceptions. It is important to kill all excuses that appear in your mind and to avoid rationalizing the act. Don’t stop being accountable to yourself. If you cannot wake up for the early morning jog, work on getting up early until it is cemented as a habit. Stop buying cigarettes to make sure you don’t have one even if the urge gets uncontrollable.
When you inform your family and friends about the changes you’re trying to make and the habits you seek to adopt, you create a support system for yourself. Moreover, when you realize others are also tracking your progress and commenting on it, you seek to become more disciplined, and your will power to stick to your goal increases dramatically.
Visualize your Progress
It is important to keep yourself motivated by visualizing yourself with your new habit. The more you visualize your progress, the likely you are cement your new habit as it will be already cemented in your subconscious.
Even if you feel like you’re about to collapse on the treadmill, try to push yourself to walk for at least 20 minutes, and stay consistent each day, despite your discomfort. Over time, your consistency and persistence will pay off, your discomfort will reduce naturally.
Give yourself treats and rewards will every milestone so you stay motivated and positive. Try to reward yourself every time you reinforce your new habit, so you can associate your habit with the pleasure of a reward. By creating a positive reinforcement for yourself, you will soon start to see your new habit as a reward in itself.