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Change Your Autopilot: 5 Steps to Creating a Positive Habit

Written by Lauren Rae, Wellness Coach and CPT at TRYM Fitness

Aristotle wrote, “We are what we repeatedly do.” However, what we repeatedly do sometimes becomes a habit that goes without a second thought. Create a positive lasting habit, create positive lasting change. From remembering to drink more water or waking up earlier to taking the garbage out and writing that to-do list, any goal worth reaching requires a change in the way you’ve previously done things by adding some thought. In a way, you’re restructuring your beliefs and creating a strategy for your life. What do you think 21 days of repeatedly creating positive change could do in your life?

woman_celebrating_daw_sun_city_run_picMost people run on autopilot. This action of non-action is still a choice, it just happens to be a subconscious one. It becomes action without thought, known in the science community as “automaticity,” the driver of all habits. What if you could consciously choose? Well that requires a deeper level of consciousness. No, you don’t have to meditate more or burn incense until the smoke alarm goes off. What I mean is becoming connected with what is going on in and around you. Rather than letting old habits die hard, choose each and every moment what is best for you, what you need. Not only will it help you stay present in the moment, you will begin to realize that your body and mind often tell you exactly what they need. Whether we listen or how we translate that comes down to another choice.

Let’s be honest, it’s not going to be a walk in the park. The process of creating this lasting habit obviously requires some planning and repetition. Research completed by psychologist Jeremy Dean says 21 days seems to be the magic number to changing the way your brain processes and creates a habit. That being said, from personal experience, I know some habits can take months to create! It can be somewhat disheartening; however, the action of choosing to move forward towards a goal is better than to not have one at all. So, while it can take any variable of time to repeatedly do the things you’re hoping to turn into habit, repetition and consistency is key.

5 ways to create a positive habit in your life

Raise the standards you have for your own life. You deserve it. Be very specific in what it is you’re going to change and write it down in detail.

girl_writing_nature_field_picSet a realistic goal and put a timestamp on it. 21 days is a good start, right? Can you wrap your mind around a 3 week time period? Make sure you have a date that you’re working towards! If for some reason you slip up, just keep moving forward. That ‘end date’ can always be moved. It’s your life, remember?

Create a plan and choose your steps. Figure out what is standing in your way and then strategize a way around it. Visualize the change in your life and make it ultimately compelling so you spend time thinking about it and getting excited about it!

Take action! Put sticky notes up to remind you, set an alarm on your phone. Tell your friends about it, and write about it on social media. Take action on your goal and create a support system around you to keep you on track.

Reward yourself once you’ve reached your “end date” to create an additional positive experience. Your dog gets a treat or praise when he sits or comes. You deserve to be rewarded for good behavior also. Just be sure that your reward doesn’t negate all of your hard work. If anything, make it something that encourages your desire to continue working every day towards new positive changes.

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