Creating New Habits is a Piece of Cake: Here’s How to Do It

 

Creating good, new habits is actually takes the same amount of effort and follows the same path of thinking as creating a bad habit. The problem is that we think about creating new habits, but never think about creating a bad habit. It seems to just come out of nowhere, but most likely there was a logical path, a system, that you followed to create that bad habit.

Let’s take smoking, for example. How did you build the habit of smoking? Perhaps it’s something you grew up around. Your parents smoked, your teachers smoked, your neighbors smoked. Perhaps your peers smoked.

You were in some way exposed to it. You saw advertisements. Perhaps you smelled second hand smoke, and liked the smell. Perhaps you saw a picture of someone smoking in a magazine, and you thought they looked cool. You wanted to look cool just like them.

Initially, you started to smoke right after school. Walking home puffing away at a cigarette made you feel like an adult. It made you feel cool. Perhaps you thought it eased some stress. Perhaps it made you feel like a rebel, and you liked that feeling.

You worked hard creating the habit. You had to be sure that every day you had access to a cigarette, and you followed that pattern of smoking after school. The trigger was the school bells. The moment that last bell of the day went off, you knew it was time to smoke.

Over time, you made the decision to smoke before school. Once school ended, you had more freedom. You were now in college, or perhaps working. You had more cash in your pocket to spend on your hobbies.

habit forming

You reinforced the habit even more. Setting even more triggers – after work. Before work. During your lunch break.

Then you had people to smoke with. It’s a social activity. It’s difficult to have a conversation without smoking. If you didn’t have a cigarette with you, it was ok, your friends would provide you with one. They’re your smoking buddies.

That’s how you became a smoker. Now let’s take this same scenario and replace the word “smoking” with “working out” and see what we come up with:
How to Build the Habit of Exercise

How did you build the habit of exercise? Perhaps it’s something you grew up around. Your parents worked out, your teachers worked out, your neighbors worked out. Perhaps your peers worked out.

You were in some way exposed to it. You saw advertisements. You saw pictures of bodybuilders in a magazine. Perhaps you witnessed people working out, and liked the way they looked, presented themselves. You saw how happy they were, how hard they pushed. You wanted to be just like them.

Initially, you started to workout right after school. Working out in that dingy high school gym made you feel like an adult. It made you feel indestructible. Perhaps you thought it eased some stress. You loved the high you felt after a good workout.

You worked hard creating the habit. You had to be sure that every day you had access to a place to workout, and you followed that pattern of working out after school. The trigger was the school bells. The moment that last bell of the day went off, you knew it was time to hit the gym.

Over time, you made the decision to workout before school. Once school ended, you had more freedom. You were now in college, or perhaps working. You had more cash in your pocket to spend on your hobbies.

You reinforced the habit even more. Setting even more triggers – after work. Before work. During your lunch break.

Now you have people to workout with. It’s a social activity. During the workout, you and your workout buddies push each other. After the workout you go out to eat and talk about life and working out. If some days you don’t feel like working out, it’s ok. Your new friends encourage you to hit the gym with them.

Do you see how similar it is to build a good habit vs. a bad habit? Our human mind truly can’t differentiate between a good one and a bad one. It can only seek to repair the damage you do to it. You choose the damage. Will you break down your lungs, or break down your muscles?

Water retention

How Working Out can Help Build Good Habits
The cool thing is that when you build one positive habit, you pick up a few other good habits along the way. It’s like a domino effect.

For example, once you build the habit of working out, you want to start to eat right so you can perform better. Then, perhaps you want to wake up earlier so that you can spend a little more time in the gym.

To wake up earlier, you need to sleep earlier. To sleep earlier, you need to avoid all those parties you get invited to. Perhaps you need to say no to a few friends, and eventually those bad influences go away.

One good habit after another, and another. A year or so later, you’re a whole new person. You don’t even know why. You just created one good habit, saw the fruits of that good habit, and went on to acquire a bunch more.

Unfortunately, the same is true with bad habits. You start one, and to feed that habit you need to pick up a few more.

How Self-Talk Influences your Habits

It’s often stated that building a new habit is very hard. Why is it hard? What kind of negative drivel is that?

By stating that something is hard, you’ve already set yourself up for failure.

When people state “it’s hard” as an excuse for not exercising, I tell them to do this:

● Take out your phone
● Set a timer for 60 seconds
● Now do as many squats at you can for 60 seconds

Congratulations, you just worked out.

What we just did there is shatter negative self talk. Most untrained individuals will feel like they’re about to die after such a workout.

Realize that it is your own thinking that prevented you from working out. Nothing else.

The media, your environment, those magazines you read – they all define what exercise is for you. Your problem up until that moment was that someone else’s definition of fitness didn’t fit into your mind. You thought you had to go to a gym, and you made excuses not to go. Well, just get down and do some pushups. There’s your workout!

Often times we put up blockades in our minds based upon the scripts that we have been given. Like an actor studying for a new role, it’s time for you to throw away the old script, and re-define what it looks like to become a new you.

What habits, systems, and ideas do you need to spend time learning in order to become that new version of yourself? Are you going to let your fear of going to the gym hold you back from exercising, or are you going to wake up in the morning, grab a timer and do squats for 60 seconds, followed by another exercise for 60 seconds, followed by another, and another, and another….

Creating a new habit isn’t difficult. It’s just a matter of how you’re going to invest your time and energy, and what you’re going to tell yourself.

 

About the Author:

Parth Shah is the creator of ShahTraining.com which teaches people how to use mental mind tricks to conquer the world and become healthier and awesome in the process. Check out his site.