Building New Habits
Building New Habits<< Back
Celebrating the closing of one year’s journey around the sun and the beginning of another naturally gives rise to the process of evaluating one’s habits and behaviors. By choosing what to keep and what to change, you can develop powerful personal transformations across a lifetime. When looking ahead into 2022, you may envision building a business, new DIY projects around the home, a growing family, and many other things that will play a significant role in your life. Take time as well to consider the internal tools you possess and read below for a few resources that can help you build new habits to turn this vision into reality.
How Do Habits Form
NPR did a special on “How Habits Form and How to Break Them” and named three primary processes to habits: the cue (or trigger), the routine, and the reward. Brain chemistry plays a big role, as does the pattern of reinforcement over time. Some habits are rudimentary, like brushing your teeth or buttoning a shirt, while others are formed with great disciple and can make a huge difference in the story of your life (see: The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, by Stephen Covey). While people can agree on certain “good” and “bad” habits, much is left to the relative perspective and experience of the individual. We all have our unique upbringing, vices, goals, and motivations. For almost everyone, however, one thing is clear: the formation of new habits requires deliberate, conscious, and sustained effort.
Building Better Habits
One thing you might not know about the people behind the products are the company values we live on a daily basis. One of these values is to “make it better than it is today.” This is an example of an identity-based habit, a kind of core driver of patterns of behavior. Making it better than it is today can refer to one of our products, a process within our company operations, or most anything…and it definitely applies to individuals and personal habits.
James Clear’s book Atomic Habits clearly identifies a path for forming better habits, and makes a great first read for the new year. Some basic elements of the book help with:
- Dedicating time to make new habits
- Dealing with lapses in motivation and sustaining willpower
- Designing a lifestyle and environment built for success
- Determination to get back on track when things go astray
While there are seemingly unlimited books, articles, discussions and theories on habit formation, everyone can agree on one key principle: you don’t have to do it alone. Resources exist all around you in the form of books, programs, tried and true techniques, and a myriad of other solution-oriented systems that can be found with a little research. Your main ally, however, is accountability. You can use self-imposed accountability with tracking tools on paper, spreadsheets, apps, and other resources readily available – but having an external source of accountability is often a more reliable method of building new habits. Check in with a partner, spouse, or close friend and make a pact to help each other. Find an “accountabilibuddy” who has similar goals to you, perhaps with fitness, eating habits or even learning a new skill such as a musical instrument.
These external resources don’t even have to be people – publicly notifying friend networks and social media accounts helps force you to stay on target when vice or distraction tempts you to give in. Deadlines and commitments to people, organizations, or even a personal blog or website also gives a timely and defined need to maintain goals for new habit formation. While some habits may take a lifetime of perseverance, others can be formed in a few short weeks and the impact on your life can be revolutionary. Not sure where to start? Check out ExperienceLife’s article “Build Better Habits” to begin your journey into the new year.
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