How to change a habit

Wouldn’t it be great if we did all the things we were supposed to do, every day. Well, at some point or another, each of us runs into our own habits — habits and patterns in our lives that we’ve created that move us toward or away, from our goals.

Your habits determine who you are. How in shape you are. How dependable you are. Even how happy you are. Not your desires. Not your wishes. Not your hopes. Your habits.

Sometimes we want to bring in a new habit to improve our lives. Yet, it’s very difficult to go from zero to one, to start a new habit, out of nowhere, that’s not attached to any kind of a cue, or prompt.

So when “starting” new habits, always attach the new habit to an existing habit.

For example, I realized that the Florida sun was taking a toll on my skin and I would really be better off if I moisturized my skin every evening. I put a tube of moisturizer in the drawer in my bed side night table. Solved, right?

Nope. I was not very successful. Only on the rarest of occasions did I actually moisturize my skin. Why? Because the moisturizer was invisible. I was relying on trying to remember a new pattern of behavior – starting something from nothing. And there was no cue. So even though I wanted to, I didn’t.

Now I was in the habit of setting my iPhone on my charger every evening. This was a very convenient place to put the tube of moisturizer. My nightstand wasn’t quite as tidy as I like, but at least for the time being, I can’t complete my bedtime ritual and put my phone on the charger without actually picking up the tube of moisturizer. Once the tube is in my hand, it prompts me to go ahead and apply the moisturizer to my skin.

It’s only been 4 days but so far, 100%!

So when changing habits, don’t try and go from zero to one. Instead, take an existing habit that already has a built in cue and modify it in a way so that it’s very easy to do the new, improved version of the older habit.

Let me know what habits you improve!

Learn more by watching this Nudge – Leadership Nudge® 315 – How to Change a Habit

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