Exercise more, eat less, buy healthier foods, lose weight, save money, quit smoking, drink less coffee or caffeine…These are some of the top New Year’s resolutions that people make. At the beginning of each new year, we hope that we will finally find the motivation to make these change in our lives.
But how can we really achieve our goals and become the people we want to be?
Achieving goals and making changes to our lives usually starts with changing our behavior—not an easy task! It takes a lot of will power to do it, but that is not all. You can have a strong sense of self-control, yet the most effective way to change your behavior is change your habits.
Why isn’t a strong sense of self-control enough to change behavior?
Well, let’s think about driving. How often do you drive a car and not think about it? You take a turn, put your blinkers on or stop at a red light without really thinking of driving itself. It is because driving, like many (in fact 43%) of our everyday actions, is habitual and doesn’t require a lot of decision-making processes. A habit is a behavior that we repeat often without giving it a lot of thought. It is a mental association and often leads to positive reinforcement which makes it even harder to change. Interestingly, on average humans can form a habit after only 21 days.
What is the best way to change a habit?
The best way to change your behavior and break a bad habit, is to make subtle changes in your everyday routine. That way you are not only breaking the mental associations in your head, but you also put less pressure on yourself to make a change in your life, which will happen gradually over time, for good!
Moreover, when you are changing your behavior, you should make it as enjoyable, comfortable, and convenient as possible. For example, if your goal for 2021 is to exercise more but you hate going to the gym, don’t force yourself to go there. Start working out at home, go for a hike, or get a personal trainer at a small studio. Figure out a way to make exercise fun and easy. By making it enjoyable and convenient, you won’t have any excuse not to do it.
Lastly, try to be aware of what you are doing and what decisions you are making that will effect your ability to change the habit.
Again, knowing that we should change a habit and wanting to do something different are simply not enough. Focusing on long-term changes in behavior, using fun and convenient methods will help you achieve your goals! Before you know it, you will be successful!!
As the saying goes, “Out with the old and in with the new!” 2021 is a new year full of possibilities. Contact us at Brainstim Centers to see how we can help you achieve your new goals.