Habit Forming: Making Positive Habits A Routine
Positive habits are all something that we could do with a little more of in our lives. After all, it's only over an extended period of time that we see results from things such as regular exercise, stopping smoking, and making more healthy decisions with our diet. With that in mind, this post is focused on how to give less importance to stopping the negative things, and more on establishing positive routines in your life. Read on to find out more.
Do something positive
First of all, we need to address the difference between a focusing on a positive, or a negative habit. Focusing on a negative habit, with a view to stopping, such as drinking too much coffee, going to bed later than we should, or getting involved in the gossip at work can be ineffective.
This is because you are putting all your attention onto the negative thing, making it seem much more important in your life than it actually is. In fact, it can easily be something that takes over your thinking in the process when trying to give it up, actually making this process much more difficult. Precisely because you are thinking about it all the time, and setting it up as a win or lose battle in your mind.
That is why instead of giving up a negative habit, you need to focus on replacing it with something that positive, or at the very least less harmful than the original behaviour. A great example of this is the use of low nicotine e liquid and vapes instead of smoking traditional cigarettes. Alternatively, many people choose nicotine replacement patches or lozenges as a positive behaviour, and even meditation to focus on instead of smoking.
Next, in the quest to integrate positive habits into your routine, it can be very helpful to be aware of the power of distraction. Distraction, in this case, is where we consciously choose to move our focus from the desire to engage in a negative behaviour to something more neutral.
You aren't actually replacing the behaviour with a positive one, just acknowledging the desire for the unhelpful is there. Then move your focus to something else, and this can help this desire to fade into the background.
A good example of this is when we consciously choose to focus on the conversation that we are having with the person in front of us, rather than constantly checking our phones. A behaviour that many people see as negative and would like to reduce.
Get up when you fall down
Last of all, when creating positive habits you must remember that no matter what your strength of will, you will fail to achieve what you have set out at least some of the time. It is important to be aware of this as part of the process of positive habit forming, rather than framing it as a failure on your part. This will then make it a lot easier to pick yourself up and keep going toward your end goal, as opposed to giving up when you reach the first hurdle.