Are you living your life on purpose and designing it according to your deepest desires or are you letting life happen to you? In 1892, the famous psychologist, William James wrote, “All our life, so far as it has definite form, is but a mass of habits.” The results you achieve in life whether they are physical, mental, financial or spiritual are achieved by a compilation of daily habits.
According to a paper published in Current Directions in Psychological Science, more than 40 percent of the actions people performed each day weren’t actual decisions, they were habits. Habits start out as actual decisions and were formed because the brain is constantly looking for ways to save effort. The brain will enable you to form a habit, so you stop thinking constantly about basic behaviors thereby saving effort.
At some point you no longer had to think about walking, eating, tying your shoes, and all of the daily mundane tasks you perform regularly. Some habits work for us and some work against us. All you need to do is to look at your results If you don’t like the results you are getting, look into changing the habits to achieve different results.
How habits are formed- A Cue, A Routine and A Reward
Let’s take weight for example. The habit of eating is created by a cue, a routine and a reward.
- Maybe the cue is a commercial showing some tantalizing food, going to a restaurant, being with people who eat a certain way or buying or cooking what your family, friends or other people did.
- Your routine could be:
- Watching the same show on TV with the same tempting commercial
- Going to the type of restaurants that serve the food that is making you gain weight or feeling fatigued
- Being with people who like food you know is not good for you
- Making food that you know how to make becomes routine
The routine you set up is easy and you don’t have to think about it. However, if you don’t like the results you are getting, it is time to take stock of those results and decide to make a new habit. The results might be gaining weight and your clothes don’t fit, feeling bloated, or fatigued after eating, or blood tests show high blood sugar or high cholesterol. You know what you are doing is not good for you, but you do it anyway. The behaviors are habits that can be changed so you get different results.
- The reward is what keeps you doing what you are doing, and you crave it. You become familiar with the taste and texture of the food as well as the company you keep, and you want it and crave it. When you crave something and anticipate what it tastes like and you give in to your cravings, it is a reward. Cravings drive the habit and keep you doing the same thing over and over again.
How to create a BETTER Habit and live your life on purpose
Since cravings drive habits, if you figure out what sparks your cravings, this can make creating a habit easier for you. Using weight as an example, you could create a craving to fit into your clothing or to look or feel a certain way. What would it take to get you there? The best thing to do is to write it down.
Write down the following:
- The habit you want to create.
- A cue to develop the new habit
- Your reward
- Make sure the reward is something you’ll be able to crave or anticipate as you create this new habit.
- If you want to create healthier eating habits, have healthy food available. Prepare it ahead of time or buy it and make it easy to grab and go. Find something you like and keep it in your refrigerator.
- Develop a menu plan and some foods or recipes that are quick and easy that you can enjoy. Make a shopping list, read nutritional labels, don’t skip meals and have healthy snacks available. Stop buying things that will derail you or if you have to buy them for others, keep them out of reach. Try a new restaurant that has healthier choices. Develop friendships with some health conscious people whose habits you can emulate.
- Make the reward compelling. If you give up something replace it with something you enjoy. Listen to music that uplifts you, go for a walk, shop for the outfit you crave you will fit into, pamper yourself, and find things that make you feel good and rewards you for good behavior. Try something new like a healthy cooking class, buy an Instant Pot or a high speed blender, go to a museum, plan a wellness getaway, join a gym. Tie the reward to the healthy choice and you will start to see changes.
If you keep repeating the cue, routing and reward by choice, it will become a habit and you will no longer have to think about it. You can choose to do this with anything in your life such as educational, financial, fitness, or any goal. Once you develop good habits, the good in your life will become automatic. You will be living your life on purpose because you consciously chose to develop these habits for your own good. If you need support to develop healthier habits and a lifestyle you love, get the support, education and treatment you need at https://howtoliveyounger.com/wellness/, you’ll be glad you did!