Habits are automatic rituals and behaviours that help us perform important activities such as brushing our teeth or following the same routes every day without thinking about it. Our subconscious habits create space in our brains for more complex tasks such as problem-solving. You can form habits without intending to form them, however, habits can also be deliberately cultivated – or eliminated – for your benefit!
Why are habits important?
Habits can be seen as the daily vote that you cast towards your future self! Habits form a huge part of your identity as a professional. Harnessing the power of good habits plays an important part on the road to success. Successful people are often big dreamers with big ambitions! Often, we tend to fear or be discouraged by big dreams, sometimes the endpoint seems too far. It becomes very useful to be able to break down your dream into smaller actionable steps or a group of habits. Thereafter, it is easier to focus on the smaller and manageable tasks, than to feel overwhelmed by your dreams.
“Motivation is what gets you started; habit is what keeps you going”
How to build better habits
You are what you repeatedly do, so you owe it to yourself to deepen your understanding of your habits. It is best to schedule time every week to review your habits. Once you understand the frequency of each of your habits, then you can start planning around how to eliminate unhealthy habits or cultivate the healthy.
“When making plans, think big. When making progress, think small”
Big changes in your behaviour or habits require motivation which usually cannot be sustained. It is important to start smart when building new habits, to make it as easy as possible in the beginning so that you may stick it out.
Use the CRR (Cue – Routine – Reward) Method!
The CRR method is a very useful technique, which uses psychology to hack your habit formation process. CRR stands for Cue – Routine – Reward. The cue is a trigger that reminds your brain to do something (for example boredom may be a cue to start scrolling on social media). After the cue, follows the routine. A routine may be physical, emotional, or mental (scrolling through social media for hours is an example of a routine). After the routine, then comes the reward (for example the bursts of dopamine that result from scrolling through social media).
If you take this principle and apply it to cultivating the good habits that you want to build, you can hack your brain and make it much easier to adopt a new habit. Create a cue for your new healthy habit (e.g., the sound of your alarm), follow that up with a routine (e.g., start exercising), and you may then decide on a suitable reward (e.g., smoothie or chocolate).
Consistency is key to breaking bad habits and forming good or better habits. One of the best predictors of habit-formation success is the frequency in which the habit is performed. The strength of a habit is defined by how automatic it is. Work on making your small habits become an automatic part of your brain function so that you perform these habits without thinking about them. You may do this by performing the habit as consistently as possible.
Read more about habits and habit formation
Reading this blog was a great start to understanding habits and knowing how to build better habits for success! The next step is to read more about the habit formulation process, as this is a deep-rooted part of our brain and requires deep reading to fully understand. The following are a few recommended reads that you can start with:
Remember that you are your habits! Therefore, if you would like to improve yourself, then you must improve your habits.
Environmental Youth for the Future!