Learning a new behaviour

Whether it be a diet, an exercise regime or even just practicing being grateful for all that we have, why is it so bloody difficult to stay on course? Is it that I am just a wishy washy person unable to follow through on any long term commitment or is it just much harder than I am giving myself credit for?

Is it more of a woman thing or is it just the same for both sexes? According to Dr Stephanie Burns it really doesn’t matter what sex you are, what matters is whether you manage to make something a habit instead of requiring motivation on a daily basis to get something done.

Brushing your teeth, setting the alarm, are habits that require no thought. The real trick of creating a new behavior is to create a new habit. Instead then of that behavior requiring hard work, and constant motivation ,you can stay on course much more easily.

If I asked you to write down all your bad habits I’m sure you could do it no problem. That is because you have practiced those a lot!! Those habits probably started very small, smoking, drinking, but you practiced and they improved!! So, it seems we all have the ability to set up new behaviors, but we need to start small and practice.

To learn and install a new habit you must:

1) Be specific. Rather than committing to go for a jog every day, you should commit to start running for just 10 min 3x per week A good idea would be to set up some structured workout classes or private tuition
2) External triggers or reminders. Either by using the same location or time or set up your phone to give you a reminder
3) Repetition, repetition, repetition. It does take energy to learn a new course of action!

To start the process of building your new habit, make it difficult not to follow through on your commitment.

1) Do it with a friend, somehow letting a friend down is always harder than letting yourself down!
2) Commit to starting the action don’t run the whole story in your head
3) Tell a friend about your success, no matter how small
4) Make it difficult not to follow through, ie don’t buy any food for the fridge that will tempt you

I think we should all set one new habit we would love to have in our lives. Mine will be to get up earlier, to get more done in my day. Tell me about yours and let’s see if we can support each other. If you put a comment on here we can start our new habit together, so we can stay on course.

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