This is how to develop good habits
We know the importance of making healthy choices and the benefits of how those choices help us live longer, feel better and give us the energy to accomplish more during the day.
What is a habit?
A habit is something that you can’t help doing all the time. It could be anything from smoking when you are in the car to having a glass of wine every night at a certain time to even sucking your thumb to go to sleep.
If you can’t help doing something or even don’t realize that you are doing it then it’s probably a habit.
How long does it take to break a habit?
That is completely up to you and is fully dependent on what the habit is.
So for example, if your aim is to quit smoking then the NHS suggests that you:
– Use one of their Stop Smoking advisors to help which gets to the bottom of why you smoke.
– Maybe use some aids to help you like patches or other approved treatments that have been proven to help someone stop smoking.
– Will power and the mindfulness training to want to stop and know you are going to stop.
This could work for any habit. If you feel like you need to break your habit or even make a new habit then you need to remember that:
– It takes time. You are not going to be able to change overnight. Commit to one day at a time and know that today you will not do whatever your habit is.
– Break your habit by doing something else. Example thumb sucking. At bedtime, try and sit on your fingers or place your hands somewhere else. Look into the different nail varnishes that taste horrid when you suck.
– Try and remember when or why your habit formed. Was it a certain time in your life that you struggled in some way? Or is it a time of day? Whenever it is, try and be doing or be somewhere else. Just breaking the habit a few times could make a huge difference to your mindset.
How to develop new habits
Learning how to develop the habits we’re looking to create can be broken down into the acronym TAP.
TAP, which stands for Trigger, Action, and Positive Rewards is an amazing acronym and by following the outline below, you’ll soon be on your way to reaching and accomplishing every habit.
In the acronym TAP, T stands for Trigger. A trigger is a behavior that causes either a positive or negative reaction in oneself.
For example, a trigger could be that you set a goal to start going to the gym but on the second day, you start to tell yourself that you’ll never be able to consistently go every day.
It is just not going to work out. Learning how to identify the negative trigger will help you to realize what truth is in a situation and what is not. Identifying your triggers allows you to stop yourself from engaging in your fears, negative self-talk or doubts.
Triggers can also be positive. Say you know that to get yourself motivated you will start leaving positive affirmation post-it notes on the bathroom mirror.
This positive trigger will encourage you every morning after a shower because you will see the affirmation on the mirror every morning.
After a few days, you’ll be saying the affirmation before you even get in the shower. So, the key is to use trigger to weed out the negative triggers and start building positive ones in place of the negative. Start asking yourself questions. How can I replace my negative triggers with positive ones?
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The A in our TAP acronym stands for action. Taking action means that you’ve planned out your goals for your new healthy habit, you’ve asked yourself the hard questions about your triggers and now you’re ready to start doing something about it.
Action, which is a verb, means that something needs to be done. Its building motivation within yourself, seeing the clarity of those actions and doing what you say you’re going to do. When conflict comes up or excuses set it, action means you’ll sit down and come up with a strategy to get rid of the conflict rather than quit.
Action means that when, because it’s not an if, you fail, and you’ll ask yourself questions. What am I experiencing in the inner self that is causing me to lose sight of my goal? Keep going! You’ll complete what you start if you put your goal into action!
P- Positive Rewards
The last letter in our acronym TAP is p.
P stands for a positive reward. Notice that the word positive is added to rewards. Learning to give ourselves rewards are a great motivator to accomplish goals and to keep motivation going when there are setbacks.
Making sure our rewards are positive however will ensure that instead of rewarding oneself with ice cream, you’ll reward yourself with something more positive. That could be treating yourself to a movie or getting your nails or hair done. Replacing the reward with a positive experience or relaxation helps to reprogram the brain to relate to goal setting as a fun experience.
Creating healthy goals can be as simple as remembering the word TAP. Identifying triggers, taking action, and positive rewards help our brain to connect to the new healthy habits one is establishing. Staying committed to the decision to change and build healthy habits will create a life you’ve been searching for.
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