Humans have always been addicted to some habits, that is why we try to change them once in a while. Now gaining new habits is not easy for everyone. Most of us are afraid of the thought of cultivating a new habit because it requires change. But cultivating good habits can be a positive attribute that can add value to your life. So how do we cultivate good habits?
Most of us have been struck by something after the current pandemic, many of us had to rethink what we have been doing all our lives and were trying to do something new from home. Either if it’s spending time with the family, reading books, doing regular exercise, writing blogs, doing a podcast, etc. Many also had the opportunity to change jobs, to change priorities, and set new milestones.
But a few of us have been struggling with the new changes that have happened around us. We are not able to achieve the goals we set. Some of us are not able to do anything in the past and the current situation is just the same as before. There are multiple reasons why we need to rethink the process of cultivating a new habit.
Cultivate Good Habits
Before having the thought of practicing new habits you might need to consider few things. New habits sometimes need time and planning which requires a lot of energy. Make sure to have enough fuel in you to cultivate new habits. Now how would you do that? How do you decide you need the energy to do something?. That is where the reward system comes in. Try to reward yourself with something whenever you spend more energy on something you wanted to do.
You certainly don’t have to see results straight away but getting a result in the long term is a need for this reward system. If you don’t attain a result then there is no point in cultivating new habits for a change because these changes might be unhappy, sacrificing, and time-consuming. But that does not mean you should stop trying. when you know there is a result for all the changes that occur you will be willing to put energy towards it.
But if the result is something positive or something that gives some value, a reward at the end of this slow and gradual process will be heartwarming.
To save energy, spend your energy only on what is important. Do not waste your energy on little things that have no value, you won’t be having any energy left if you spend it on something that is not worthy. Break your old habits that might have been toxic, try to forget the bad habits that come to your mind by blocking them. Focus on the result by building a process and make it worthy of a reward towards the end. Although these can’t be achieved overnight it takes patience and determination to get there.
Take, for example, you have been working hard and putting in all the extra time and efforts to save up money for buying a new house. But when you are in the process of saving for the new house you instead decide to buy new gadgets every year, now what is the point of saving money which you saved up for a house and instead decide to spend it on something else? Now the chances of getting what you really wanted which in this case is a new house get delayed. Do you think you can take a loan and buy a new house and pay for it? There are lots of risks and unpleasantness involved when you break mid-habit and go for shortcuts. what if something else comes up and you have struggles in repaying your loan?. Now your progress of buying a new house might seem easy with a loan but repaying it on time becomes a burden. The whole idea of buying a new house which was your long-term goal will make you unhappy with the extra burden. All this is because of the small toxic habits that you can’t ignore.
Instead, you can choose to put the same effort into some good habits, that will make you save up your money even if you decide to spend on things you like.
For example, you can decide to stay at the same job with the same salary or upgrade yourself with a certification or newly acquired skill for a better job that provides better pay. The habit of learning something new.
You can be an athlete who plays for the same team for years or you can decide to change your routines, increase your performance and go to a better team that can make you better and pay you more. The habit of trying better for better results.
You need a Reward system
According to science, the brain loves a reward system, so fuel yourself with good food, Proper sleep, and good habits so that your brain feels rewarded and that in turn will keep you happy. Yes giving yourself some extra sleep and good food is a reward or you can call it treating yourself better. When you are happy you tend to do things more easily. This can be called an act of giving little rewards to achieve or earn a bigger reward. Why do we go through all this? at the end only to keep you happy and content.
The reward system can be anything materialistic like buying yourself a new car, a watch for all the success you had, but mentally when fulfilling something greater the important reward you get is happiness.
Things to remember after beginning a new habit
The journey of beginning something new is always easy for many but the obstacles and distractions one might need to go through to successfully achieve with the help of a new habit are challenging.
Now when it’s pretty normal for many people to gain a new habit, for a few it’s difficult. The reason here is the obstacles and distractions. when there is something with an “s” it’s quite sure there is more than one. There are going to be more than one distraction, obstacle, and problem while going through the journey.
The reason why we get distracted so easily is the brain always looks for a quick reward. These distractions can be something you like so when you get distracted the brain tries to shift its focus towards an easier reward which here is the short-term happiness. The result of this being breaking the process of cultivating new habits for the desired result. These short-term rewards or quick fixes may not be the ultimate goal you want to achieve. Avoid the short-term rewards that your brain might subconsciously want you to grab, focus on the long-term reward that can be life-changing. This act of looking for a short-term reward is also called Procrastination.
Obstacles are painful ones, it can give you frustration, anger, stress, and anxiety. Again where there are more obstacles the brain tends to get further away from it and once again this breaks the process of building a new habit. Think about the final destination that you want to reach, think about the goals you want to achieve. These obstacles can simply be a lesson. Our brain can adapt to these obstacles when faced with them so that we know how to handle them better rather than running away from them.
As I described in the first line of this article, humans are a creature of habits. If you are able to go through the obstacles and, struggles you can adapt to the habit of overcoming them. This might be a hard-earned reward but it will be a worthy one. The moments in life that you will always remember are the struggles you went through. Those are lessons you learn even if you don’t want to learn but somehow your brain will like those lessons because it has found a way to overcome them.
Mark Manson calls this Practical enlightenment, “It is the act of becoming comfortable with the idea that some suffering is always inevitable”. Happiness is a work in progress, just like problems are a work in progress. The solution to today’s problems is the solution to tomorrow’s problems.
So how to cultivate good habits? there are multiple ways of doing it, and it’s different for everyone. But we can always remember the good habits will reward you better, will keep you happy, and will help you get through difficult times in life. The idea of eliminating the problem entirely and living happily ever after never happens. But you can choose your struggles and work towards those struggles with good habits to face them. you can call it positive psychology, positive feedback, or mindset whatever you want. But it does make you see the problem and go through it.
But constant positivity is also a way of avoiding problems. Make sure you only stay positive about things that need positive thinking and pay attention to things that need attention and improvement. Because as the famous proverb says “Too many cooks spoil the broth.”
Lack of motivation to build a new habit
Lack of motivation can also be a reason that you might not be willing to build a new habit. when you don’t have a clear picture of what you are working towards, when you are unsure about your goals, there is a lack of motivation. The lack of motivation to try less, to easily get distracted, and not willing to face any obstacles.
If you have a clear picture of what you are working towards and if that goal gives you greater pleasure or reward, you will be self-motivated to work towards the goal against all odds. So to avoid a lack of motivation you need clarity about things that you are working towards and what you really need. The act of obtaining clarity can be a slow and gradual process.
Even if you don’t know the exact time that it takes to get there, you will know somehow you are going to get there because we always know after a long grinding process there is going to be a greater reward.
You will be self-motivated, which is the best way of getting motivated when you know your rewards. Do not wait for someone else to motivate you. Every change sometimes starts within you.
At the end of the day, What is a good habit or bad habit is perceived by you and how it affects your day-to-day life. All I’m trying to say is watch out for yourself.