One of the most productive things you can do is to create better habits. We don’t change habits (that’s why they are called habits) but we can replace an old habit with a new and improved model. I used to teach it took 21 days in a row to create a habit according to Maxwell Maltz’s theory in his book Psycho-Cybernetics. New brain research has shown the average person takes 66 days, not 21 to form a new habit.
Here are 8 tips to create better habits:
- Repetition is the mother of all learning. Do it over and over to create muscle or mental memory. The more you do it, the more habit you form.
- Enjoy the habit. Smile and think of how good you will look, feel, act, perform, think with the new habit. A positive attitude infuses your brain with chemicals to help mental images stick and the body with the ability to perform what you are trying to teach it.
- Use it or lose it. Using what you learn and wish to become habit will make it stick.
- Put your new habit on your iPhone, computer, a Post It® on your fridge or anywhere else you frequent to remind you to, “STICK WITH THIS HABIT.” If you remember, you have a better chance of doing it.
- Set yourself up for success with an appropriate reward. If you exercise every day for 66 days, buy yourself a top quality pair of running or walking shoes (not a trip to the buffet table!)
- Share your desire for a new habit with others. We are more likely to follow-through on new habits if we have others involved and working on the same habits.
- Make a list of the 5, 10, 50, 100 reasons why this new habit is important to you. A big reason or many small reasons give us the motivation to persevere.
- Get a prayer. Ask for a little divine guidance and connect the power of God to your new habit.
Make it a regular habit to create new habits so you continue to improve your productivity and life.