Habits (good or bad) are formed for many reasons; some are coincidental or accidental, others can be a struggle and must be made out of necessity. Habits are usually a stepping stone to achieving a goal. What we don’t always realise or acknowledge, is that to make a new habit we must first break the old one. i.e: New habit: To wake up early and go for a walk every day before work. Old Habit: sleep in, and have a slow start. The old saying was that it takes 21 days to make a new habit, but new research and extensive studies has shown that making a new habit depends so greatly on the individual setting the goal that the variables are too great to determine a real timeframe; it could be anywhere from 18-254 days. On average, studies show that it takes people 66 days to make a new habit. While we’re making this new habit, we’re in the process of breaking the old one; habits, rituals or addictions, both physical and emotional, take 2 months to break. Thats 56 days. On average, studies show us that it takes the average persona one week to make a new habit in the place of an old one once the ritual has been broken.
Making a new habit is a journey, starting with the framework. It’s important to know why this habit is important to you, the greater the emotional connection to the habit, goal or ritual, the easier it will be to perform the task daily/weekly.
You must also have a plan. There’s no use in setting a loose framework like, ‘it’ll just happen’, because the other things in your life that have times and deadlines will overrule your new goal. The more attention to detail, and the more tangible elements to an idea or goal the greater chance you will remember it when you’re busy with life. Have the facts straight, written down, or set as alarm reminders if you must. This will help you be organised and plan ahead.
Meditation and visualisation are recommended by entrepreneurs such as Richard Branson as a key tool in achieving what you set your mind to. Meditation is often confused with relaxation, however the purpose of meditation is to learn to control your mind. Your mind is your greatest asset and if you have control of your mind you will be able to steer it anywhere you want. Focus, persistence and paying attention are your tools in achieving set goals.
If, on the journey to your new goal, you must first break other habits remember this is an appx. 56 day process. You are dealing with a physical, mental and emotional connection to the existing habit. It’s going to be tough, because while your desire to create a new habit is great, your existing habit is there for a reason and you need to understand why it exists and remove this from your mind, or space. Staying up too late watching TV, being forced awake by an alarm in the morning, not having an enriching breakfast, feeling sluggish all day, is a process many of experience. For some it will be easily fixed, they will simply go to bed earlier. For others, they will need to change something in their environment that is causing them to stay up too late, whether they are unable to sleep because of the ‘mind chatter’, or they are unable to switch off, it requires another step to bring balance to an underlying issue.
These are just a few tools in the process of making new rituals, habits and achieving goals. Keep in touch for updates : )