Our habits define us as people perhaps more than anything else and are largely responsible for our successes and failures in studying, at work, and in our personal life.
Bad habits weigh on our ability to achieve the goals we have set ourselves, good habits support us in doing so. If you really want to improve as a student, as a professional, and as a person, you have to start from here.
Unfortunately, or perhaps, fortunately, changing a habit, creating it from scratch, or eliminating it is not at all easy, if you don’t know how to do it, and often the result is that we passively undergo what our brain has decided to do.
It’s time to change, to take control, and then in this article, you will find out how a habit works, how to create it, modify it or make it disappear forever.
The first step is always careful analysis, regardless of whether you are trying to create a new positive habit, break it or change it.
Start by describing as accurately and honestly as possible the habit you want to consider. In this case, I advise you to write everything down, by hand or on a computer sheet, it doesn’t matter, use the reference scheme that I explained to you a little while ago.
First detail the trigger (or triggers, if there is more than one), examining it and identifying all the nuances. This will tell you WHEN that habit materializes.
Move on to describing precisely what you do, how you react to the trigger, and what movements, attitudes, and behaviors you perform. What kind of habit is it? Neutral? Positive? Negative? What characteristics does it have? What happens when it triggers? Imagine you are a doctor describing a series of symptoms – the more precise and objective you can be, the better. This will tell you HOW the habit materializes.
Look in the mirror and find exactly which rewards(-s) that habit develops for you. Be honest, don’t lie to yourself, and don’t be ashamed. There is no judgment, it is a detached analysis operation, not a way to criticize yourself. What do you have to gain by acting like this? This will tell you WHY Habit materializes.
The second step is to define your goal and determine your plan of action and the exact strategies you will put into practice. You have three options ahead: create, delete or change a habit.
In all three cases you will have to follow the same structure that I repeat to you from the beginning:
Start from the trigger: if you want to create a habit you will also have to create new triggers, you can do it by adding them from scratch to your life, for example by buying a new object that reminds you of the action to be performed, changing the arrangement of something in the house, wearing something that serves as a reminder or noting a new element that has appeared in your environment.
If you want to eliminate a habit instead you will have to, if possible, eliminate the trigger or, if this is not possible (because perhaps it is an emotional trigger or a life context that cannot be avoided), you will have to pay more attention to it, recognize it in its nature as a trigger and wipe out the automatic element. Practice, whenever the trigger shows up, think “there it is, it’s him, now the habit should trigger”.
If you want to change the habit, you can try to gradually increase or decrease the triggers, adding new ones so as to meet them more frequently if you want to encourage the habit of removing them and avoiding them slowly if you want to decrease it.
Then we move on to the actual habit. If you want to create it, you will implement the behavior more and more automatically, quickly, and always in the same way, without thinking. The key is repetition, repeating that thing over and over again, thinking about it less and less, and becoming more and more efficient and fluid in doing it.
If you want to eliminate it, try to stop at each step, think about it, to make the process slow and cumbersome.
Describe each step aloud, you will see how wonderful when you begin to say “now I will force my legs, I will move the chair away, I will stand up leaning my palms on the desk, I will go to the kitchen where I will open the door with my left hand. refrigerator. There, scrolling the shelves, I will identify the fourth Kinder Pingue of the day. I will grab it greedily and proceed to unwrap the package before I have even closed the door of the fridge.
At this point, I will insert the snack into my oral cavity with the enthusiasm of a castaway who has not touched food for 2 weeks and I will devour the Pingui in a net time of 36 seconds, ingesting 137 completely superfluous kilocalories in my body “.
Finally, the reward: for a new positive habit often the reward, as we said before, is long-term. Not enough, we want instant gratification. Prepare yourself rewards of various kinds whenever you put into action the new habit, plus talk about it with others who give you satisfaction, compliment yourself, and wallow as much as possible in complacency before, after, and during the execution of the habit.
For negative habits, on the other hand, think about the uselessness of that gratification you get compared to the long-term damage, think about the negative consequences of the gesture and concretize them in the present moment. The Kinder Pingui has not yet had time to be digested that you already imagine it inflating your belly making you a living copy of Peter Griffin.
Also, give yourself short-term punishments whenever you come back to the negative habit. This negative reinforcement will also help you reverse the process and make it easier and easier to resist.
The last step is to implement what you decided in step 2 and hold out for the time necessary to obtain the result you are looking for. The more complex and ingrained a habit is, the harder it will be to insert or eliminate it from your life. There is talk of an average ranging from 20 to 60 days but these are extremely variable and subjective numbers.
Use every trick, every possible strategy to help you continue, not stop. And don’t rest on your laurels ahead of time. You have achieved the result not when you put into practice the habit you wanted to develop or no longer act according to the habit you wanted to remove, but only when all this happens spontaneously, without any effort or reasoning, without the need for any push or willpower…
Only then can you relax.
There would still be a thousand things to say about habits but I don’t want to overcomplicate this article. Start with these principles and let me know what you think if you have any advice or doubts or maybe if you want to share some habits that you have developed, changed, or eliminated from your life.
Of course, creating habits is an extremely time-consuming task, especially for students, so, if you are busy writing papers and don’t have enough time to work on establishing habits, you can always turn to a paper writer to get more free time.