How Changing Your Habits Can Change Your Life

Successful people share habits that distinguish them from those whose lives appear to be in a rut.  Depending on what they are, your habits can make or break you.

 Habits are your ways of thinking and acting which become automatic because of repetition. Habits can become so ingrained in your system that you end up doing them mindlessly. 

We are all creatures of habit, both good and bad. Oftentimes, bad habits prevent you from advancing and making rapid progress. Thus, life coaches and motivational speakers suggest developing useful habits to experience positive changes in your life.  

How habits are formed

Habits start from the mind. Your mind recognizes patterns and associates these with stimuli.   In time, your brain will send out automatic signals to your body every time it recognises specific stimuli.  But for a behavior to become a habit, you will have to practise the same activity everyday for at least 21 days as psychologists maintain that it takes 21 days for the average person to learn a habit.  To change a habit, however, may take more than that period, if at all one is able to change.  

Good habits

 Start some healthy habits that can make you look and feel better such as:

  •  exercising regularly,
  •  making healthy food choices,
  • quitting smoking, and
  •  getting enough sleep.

You can also develop good habits for grooming, dressing, reading, giving and speaking.   Other patterns of behaviour, however, may not be so easy to develop such as getting control of your life, thinking positively, overcoming addiction, and managing anger.    Learn to recognize your limitations and seek help or advice at the earliest opportunity. 

 Tips on changing habits

 Examine and write them down. 

 As habits are usually automatic, you may have to examine these patterns and determine which ones prevent you from improving your life. Putting them in writing can help you assess where you are and what needs to be done.

 Develop good habits gradually.

 Older habits are usually more difficult to break and may take more time and effort to change. Start with habits that you think are easy for you to avoid.  Small changes can produce positive results which motivate you to work at changing the negative ones. 

Practise for 21 days.

Improvements take time but they are not impossible to achieve if you start now. You may experience some resistance at the beginning of your 21-day habit.  As you persevere in maintaining your new habit, doing it will feel easier as your brain and body gets used to the pattern after some time.

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