Every habit goes through three steps and we need to understand these before building a new habit. Understanding how habits work is very much needed to avoid quitting once you start the process.
Habit – 3 Step Process
Any habit consists of 3 steps i.e cue, routine and reward. Lets examine those one by one.
These are triggers which motivates your mind to go into the particular habit mode. It may include anything you see, hear or listen. Moreover, It also includes emotions and thoughts which make you indulge in the habit.
When you enter into a habit there may be more than one behavior or action you will be doing. And these set of behaviors or actions which your mind carries out when you are in a habit, is called ‘chunking’. Generally, this process is subconscious i.e you do it automatically without your active attention towards it. This is because your mind saves energy which can be used for other tasks which requires logical thinking.
Obviously, majority of the things we do daily consists of a reward and we do it because to achieve it. Rewards are the satisfaction you get after executing a set of actions in Routine step. To put it simply, Reward is the reason why we do a particular task.
How to build a new habit?
Identify the tasks
This step is simple just decide what you want to do. It might include one action or multiple actions. For e.g. in habit of reading, apart from reading a book, you can also include actions like taking down notes, sharing inspirational quotes etc.
Knowing why are you building a new habit is important and can avoid quitting in early stages. Defining your rewards for the tasks you are carrying out can be very motivating. Rewards are essential you must have rewards for your habits or else it could become frustrating. For e.g in case of reading self-help books rewards could be the knowledge to solve your own problems or that happiness when your friend mentions his/her problem and you know the solution to it from one of the books you have read.
Assign the time
Selection of time period to carry out the tasks is very much important. Distractions can be frustrating especially in habits like reading. Know at what time you can execute your tasks very well.
Start with the small
If your new habit is big or takes much time you can take smaller version of it or divide the task into several steps, if it is possible. For e.g in reading you can start with the books which has less than 100 pages or you can start reading only 5 pages a day and increase it after you feel comfortable.
Carrying out tasks at a regular interval of time is essential for habit formation. On an average, it takes one month for anything to become a habit.
Be in a company of people
It’s hard to go alone and for most people it’s de-motivating. But being in a group of people with similar interests can make your tasks easy.
Track of records
Keeping a track of what are you doing everyday does help in making adjustment to your habits. Keeping records is a sign of discipline and it is a source of motivation.
Some additional points:
Our mind constantly tries to find out patterns in whatever we are doing so that it can preserve energy to carry out other tasks. Try to avoid making too many changes to your habits (Do the changes only if it is necessary).
It is annoying to have distractions especially in building new habits. Some habits are delicate whereas some habits are complex. A simple distraction can break a habit or a dozen of distractions may not make a single dent on your habits. You should know how delicate your habits are.
Check out this post – How To Avoid Distractions And Concentrate On Your Studies And Goals