Daily repetitive actions that we repeat without conscious thoughts are known as habits. To from habits we require a plan of action and then constant attention to the process of habit formation. We start this process by ensuring that the environment in which we wish to create the habit is stable. It is hard to create habits in fluctuating environments.
The more that we perform the new action, the more efficient we become at that new action, and the less thought we have to put in to it. As we start to associate a certain environment with a certain action, we create what is called a habit.
It takes a lot of work to create a new habit. We need to identify a behavior that needs to be changed, such as getting groceries delivered. We need to put a routine together to get rid of the old habit, eg, going to the store at 8AM on Saturday mornings.
The next step is the actual process of forming the habit, eg, getting in the car, not ordering from your favorite grocery service, and lastly, no matter what happens, we cannot go back to the previous habit, renunciation.
Although you enjoy having your favorite grocery service deliver groceries to your doorstep, you realize that the money that you can save by going to the store yourself, could be put to better use.
Before beginning to get rid of the service, a routine must be established. Looking at your schedule you realize that the only free time that you have is at 8AM on Saturday mornings for one hour. You determine to make this the time that you go to the store.
It is Saturday morning at 8AM. Although you really want to just use the service, you know that you want to change this behavior. You walk out of the house, list in hand, get in the car, and drive to the store. At the store you go through the process of remembering where everything on your list resides in your store. It isn’t going to happen in one trip, but you make mental notes that the milk is positioned on the left wall, and that your favorite snack is in the middle aisles.
The last part of forming a new habit is renunciation of the previous habits. You have successfully shopped for 12 weeks at the store, you deserve a Saturday morning off, Right? The answer is wrong. You do not. You cannot go back to the old habit. If you can’t fit it in that Saturday at that time, you just need to look at your schedule and see what on Saturday you can shift. The action of going to the store is the super important part.
Creating habits can form a paradigm shift in your life. They can change the way that you live, work, sleep, eat, and exercise. They have the power to bring you up from darkness and they have the power to bring you down.
A lot of times habits can be formed in as little as a few weeks, while other times it may take months to get a habit to be self-sustaining. When that happens, the mundane tasks of life are automated, and we can begin to free our energy up for other things.