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This post on Habits is Part 1 in my 4-part series about routines. The following 3 parts will be about Morning, Evening and Study Routines.
Our lives are built on habits. You might not know it yet (or maybe you do), but most things you do in your day-to-day life are habits. From turning your alarm off as soon as it starts, to brushing your teeth twice a day, to reading before bed, habits run our lives. Without habits, we would be on a constant roller coaster of adventure – and we would never be able to just switch to auto-pilot.
In this post, we will discover why we need habits, how to break bad ones, and create good ones!
Why we need habits
Habits are SO useful – but they can also be dangerous. Okay, so, that’s a bit of an over-statement. But bad habits are so detrimental to our overall well-being. That is why we want to break them.
Basically, habits allows us to automate our lives. If we turn the steps of our morning routine into habits, your morning routine will become automatic – you will hardly have to think about it at all! Isn’t that amazing?
They also help us to achieve our goals. Say you want to learn French, and you’re using Duolingo to help you, but you constantly forget to use it. Creating the habit of using Duolingo everyday (maybe whilst eating breakfast) will help you to reach your goals faster.
Building a habit creates part of a routine.
How to break a bad habit
Breaking a bad habit is a challenging process – but a necessary one for your long-term success and well-being.
The first step to breaking your bad habit is to identify it. And understand it (why is it bad? why should you not be doing this?). Once you know exactly what this habit is and you understand why you shouldn’t be doing it, you’ll need to figure out why you were doing it in the first place. You need to understand the triggers or the cue (there the same thing but will be referred to as the cue from now on).
The easiest way to continue from this point is to come up with another habit to replace it with.
So, let’s say that every time you feel tired during the day, you make yourself some coffee. This means that you often have 3-5 coffees a day, and most often you have 2 of them in the afternoon (which means you don’t sleep very well). You want to be able to sleep, and you know that the coffee is making you struggle with sleeping.
You are going to replace this habit of making yourself coffee with going outside for a quick walk. Let’s say you create a set of rules for yourself. These are:
- You can have 1 coffee everyday.
- You must go on a short walk every time you feel tired (even if you’re drinking coffee).
- You must NOT drink coffee in the afternoon.
So, for 2 months you stick to these rules, and, you find that you are sleeping much better. You also don’t feel the need to drink coffee as much because you aren’t as tired. And when you are tired you know that you don’t need coffee to help you. Coffee has become a nice drink for when you go out instead of a drink for when you are tired.
Here are the steps that you should follow if you want to break a bad habit:
- Identify the bad habit and learn everything you can about it (including the cue).
- Find something to replace it with.
- Create a set of rules that you will follow.
- Stick to these rules until you no longer feel the need for that bad habit.
Now that you know how to break a bad habit, you need to know how to create a good one!
How to create a good habit!
Creating a good habit consists of 4 things; a reason, a cue, a habit and a reward.
So, first you need to determine your reason. Then your cue, which will remind you to do your habit, which will allow you to have your reward.
It is a constant cycle.
Time for another example!
This time, let’s say you really want to revise French every morning, but always forget. You want to revise French because you’re doing it for GCSE’s and you want to pass your exams. That is your reason.
Every morning, you get up, get dressed, make your bed and go downstairs to eat breakfast. After you eat breakfast you have a perfect 20 minute gap where you normally just sit on your phone and scroll through TikTok. You would love if you remembered to revise French then, but you always forget until you’re on your way to school!
Lets create a cue that will remind you. There are multiple ways you could go about this. For example, you could stick a note next to where you always eat breakfast that reminds you to do some revision.
But I think the best way to do it is to block TikTok during that 20 minute gap (Iphone users can do this from settings, but if you have a different phone, you will need to download a separate app to do this) and have a notification come through at that time to remind you to do your habit.
So, once you’ve done your habit, you need a reward. For the it’s day or two, the feeling of achievement is the biggest reward, but after that, when your motivation starts to die, you’re going to need something a lot better than that! You’re reward could then be to have 5 minutes of TikTok, after doing 15 minutes of French.
Okay, so, you should get the idea. Reason, Cue, Habit, Reward. Those are the 4 components of building a new habit.
In this post, you will have learnt why we need habits, how to break a bad habit, and how to create a good one. If there’s anything you don’t quite understand, leave a question in the comments and I will be sure to reply!
Thank you for reading this post on Habits. This is the first part of my 4 part series on Routines. You can find the rest of this series here.
Don’t forget that I post every Wednesday and Sunday at 12:00. Don’t miss out!