Developing habits

We all have habits, routine things that we do because we have learned them until they became an ingrained part of us. The easiest example is brushing our teeth before going to bed. We do not forget to do this even though we may be busy. We always find time for it.

How many of us want to develop a new habit but something always comes up, either a lack of time or a distraction, and we start to do it and then it falls away. Forget about changing who you are into a new you - this does not work. You have to find a way of routinely doing this habit until it is so ingrained that you will automatically do it. This takes weeks or months, so be patient.

What you need to do is to write down a simple habit that you want to acquire, for example go for a walk after dinner each night. Now work out why you want to do this, for example to get fitter to enjoy your time with your family. Make a small list of dates or a journal so that each day you can mark that you have done this habit. You will see the ticks and crosses easily until there are more and more ticks.

Put aside any excuses and just do it. A true friend can wait thirty minutes to see you. If it is cold put on a coat. If it is raining take an umbrella. Each day look at your journal and evaluate your progress. You should persevere even if things fall by the wayside for a while. Do not give up; take it up again.

Once this has worked for one habit you can start on another. Remember, small changes over a long period of time work.

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