There are a lot of different tips that you’ve probably heard and been exposed to regarding the creation of a new habit. From making sure you stick to it to at least 30 days to reprimanding yourself if you mess up (who’s heard of wearing a rubberband on your wrist that you flick if you commit the “bad” habit), the methods are endless.
But what about instead of trying to kick an old habit, you focused on trying something new?
The Power of Doing Something New to Replace the Old
A recent article published in The New York Times holds that the real power and success to kicking an old, bad habit is to try replacing the habit with something else instead. The theory is based on the idea that thought suppression–like trying to not think about something that you’re brain clearly wants to think about–can actually have negative and counterproductive effects on behavior. As such, instead of resisting a behavior, when the urge to do something counterproductive and negative for your mental or physical health presents itself, you don’t resist it, you replace it.
Replacing Bad Habits with More Positive Ones
What you replace your bad habit with can be as simple or complex as you want it to be; the key is to find something that works for you and is sustainable. For example, if you’re trying to kick your habit of having a post-dinner dessert of a slice of cake or some processed treat that comes in plastic, every time that urge hits, try making yourself a cup of tea, having some berries, or reaching for a yogurt or some dark chocolate instead.
You can also try the association method, in which you pair the formation of a new habit with an action that you’re already doing. For example, if you want to get more fit and be able to bust out 10 pullups, install a door pull-up bar near your kitchen. Everytime you go into the kitchen do a pullup. Eventually, doing one pull-up will be easy. Then add another to your set. Work your way up to 10. Assuming you go into your kitchen at least five or more times per day, you’ll be getting in five single sets, and your brain will immediately start to associate the kitchen with your pullups, and a habit will be formed.
Learn More About Forming Habits and Self Improvement
Forming a new habit or kicking an old one can be a long process along the self improvement journey. To provide you with help, guidance, and other tricks and tips throughout the process, reach out to life coach Nadia Khalil today. Nadia is a distinguished teacher, writer, and speaker, and is ready to talk with you one-on-one about your personal ambitions and how to improve your life. Contact Nadia today online to get started.