How do we create habits

Change habits: this is how you can stick to good resolutions

If you want to change your habits, you need patience, consistency and a good plan. These 10 tricks will help you persevere - so that you can achieve your 2019 goals.

They belong to New Year's Eve like “Dinner for One” and the fireworks: good resolutions. Quit smoking, do more sports - these classics are also at the top of the list of things that many entrepreneurs should change in the New Year. In addition, there are ideas for what you want to do differently in your own company in the New Year: stop taking so much work home with you after work, finally stop letting marketing drag, always send invoices on time and regularly time for Schedule acquisition calls.

Does it all sound familiar to you? No wonder: most people would like to ditch some behaviors and instead establish new, better routines in their lives. And yet very few manage to change their habits permanently. Because our brain loves habits: They give us a feeling of security and predictability; they are an oasis of calm in a world in which everything that we consider good and right today may be outdated tomorrow. If we keep our habits, our brain rewards us: It releases messenger substances that make us happy. It does not differentiate between helpful habits and those that rob us of time or energy or even endanger our health.

The following techniques can be used to program your subconscious to make the restart succeed.

1. Focus!

If so, then: if you want to change several habits at once according to this motto, you will most likely fail. Leaving your comfort zone and doing something differently than before is much more strenuous than navigating through life on autopilot. It takes effort and energy - therefore we can only succeed if we are attentive and fully concentrated.

So don't get bogged down, but tackle the changes one by one. Do not set your sights on the next goal until a new behavior has become a habit. But how long does it actually take? When it comes to this question, 21 days are often mentioned, and the number 66 days is also in circulation. In fact, however, this statement is far too general, as British researchers have shown: it took between 18 and 254 days for the participants in their experiment to establish a new habit.

2. Specify!

Anyone who wants to change habits must first be clear about what exactly the goal is - and formulate it precisely. “I don't take so much work home from the company after work” - this wishy-washy statement invites you not to take it seriously. And in the end you are sitting on the sofa at home with a pile of documents.

Formulate your goal using the SMART method: specific, measurable, attractive, realistic and timely. For our example, this could mean: “After work, I take work from the company home with me a maximum of once a week and only as much as I can work off in two hours. I mark the days on which I do this in my calendar. On March 31, 2019, I'll count the crosses in the calendar and check whether I've met my goal. "

3. Justify!

The A of the SMART method has it all. Because there is usually a simple reason why we haven't put our good intentions into practice for a long time: We don't feel like doing it. So how can you reverse the polarity of your brain so that the target appears attractive?

To do this, ask yourself two questions:

  1. Why do you want to change your habits?
  2. What's stopping you from doing it?

Becoming aware of the reasons and obstacles gives you a motivational kick.

4. Fix it!

Even if it might seem strange to you: Write down the routine that you want to keep in the future - preferably in an old-fashioned way with paper and pen. In this way, you are entering into a contract with yourself. You then sign that contract. That creates commitment.

5. Visualize!

Imagine what it will be like once you have established your new habit: Do you have more energy, a better mood, more money, more customers?

Picture the scene in as much detail as possible and enjoy the feeling that arises. The inner picture of how your life will change for the better will help you persevere.

6. Break down!

Anyone who has never ridden to the company by bike shouldn't do it every day in January (think of the R in the SMART method: realistic). It is better to break your big goal down into small intermediate goals: twice a month from January, and every week in February.

By taking these small steps, you will ensure a regular sense of achievement. Your brain will store these good feelings and link them to the new habit - this will make it easier to stick with them. Extra tip: With small rewards when reaching the intermediate goals, you can intensify the positive feelings even more!

7. Secure!

What circumstances might be preventing you from following your new habits? Play through this question in your mind and develop a plan B. Then you know: If there is black ice outside, I can't ride my bike to the company - but then I go on the treadmill for half an hour in the evening. When the big order has to be completed, I have to take work home with me - but then I'll finish earlier on Friday and take time for the family.

8. Announce!

Making your goals public increases the likelihood of achieving them. There is a simple principle behind this: social control. Because we'd be embarrassed to admit that we failed, we're more likely to persevere. And when we know that someone believes in us, we grow beyond ourselves.

So post on Facebook what you want to change in your life, tell your partner about it or look for people you know who have plans similar to yours.

9. Check!

Set a date right at the start when you will critically question your new routine: Is it helpful - and can it be implemented? If you find that it ends up complicating your daily life or you keep failing, you need to act.

Before you return to the old rut, however, you should first question the framework conditions: What would have to change in order for your plan to work? The boss, who constantly takes work home with him, may have to understand that he has to hand over tasks to employees; The self-employed person who postpones planned acquisition calls could benefit from acquisition training that helps her to be more confident in customer meetings.

10. Stay tuned!

Setbacks are normal. Don't be too strict with yourself if you send an invoice two weeks after the end of the order or if you skip the planned sports unit because you sat in the office too long in the evening. It is important not to give up in these situations, but to keep going.

With daily routines, the so-called Seinfeld strategy helps you stick with it: hang up a wall calendar so that you can always see it. Mark each day that you kept your new habit with an X. After a few days, a chain of X's will be created. Watching them grow every day feels good and helps you persevere.

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