Hacking Habit Change
I designed the Hack Your Habits training course a few years ago because I was just so frustrated with myself! The amount of times I’d made a plan, had a firm intention, then given up only weeks later.
I bought a beautiful guitar (see pic) now sat in my living room, mocking me every day, that I dust at least once a week. It always makes me feel a little sad every time I get out that duster.
Whilst researching the course, I discovered that habits are the building blocks of our lives. Sounds dramatic but they shape our behaviours and determine our success in almost every area of our lives. Some habits can be detrimental to our well-being, in fact, that’s an understatement! Some can be really bad for us, while others can propel us towards success. So, how can we hack our habits to maximise our potential and lead more fulfilling lives?
First things first, changing your habits is not so easy. It requires effort, persistence, and a willingness to step outside your comfort zone. But with the right approach, it is possible to make lasting changes and achieve your goals. Here are a few tips from the course to get you started.
1. Start Small
When it comes to habit change, it’s easy to get overwhelmed. We often set lofty goals for ourselves, and when we fail to achieve them, we give up altogether because we’ve ‘failed’. The key to success is to start small.
Choose one habit that you want to change, and focus all your efforts on that habit. It could be something as simple as drinking more water or taking a walk every day. Once you’ve mastered that habit, move on to the next one. I’ve been learning Spanish for a while now. I started with learning one new Spanish word everyday to start building my vocabulary.
2. Make it Easy
One of the biggest barriers to habit change is friction. If it’s difficult to do, we’re much less likely to do it. The key to overcoming this is to make the habit as easy as possible. For example, if you want to start exercising, lay out your workout clothes the night before. If you want to read more, leave a book by your bed rather than your phone. By eliminating barriers, you’re more likely to follow through on your intentions.
3. Create a Cue
Habits are triggered by cues – external or internal reminders that prompt us to act. By creating a cue, you can make the habit more automatic and reduce the effort required to follow through. For example, if you want to meditate every morning, set an alarm on your phone to remind you. If you want to write every day, make it a habit to start as soon as you finish breakfast. I have post-it notes on objects around my home written in Spanish. A constant reminder to keep me focussed on my goal.
4. Change Your Environment
Our environment plays a huge role in shaping our habits. If you want to change a habit, sometimes it’s necessary to change your environment. For example, if you want to eat healthier, move that biscuit tin out of sight. If you want to start reading more, move the TV remote to the TV cabinet and put a book on your coffee table instead. It doesn’t work every time but sometimes it will. By changing your environment, you’re more likely to succeed in changing your habits.
5. Celebrate Your Wins
Changing habits can be hard work, and it’s important to celebrate your successes along the way. When you reach a milestone or make progress towards your goal, take a moment to acknowledge and celebrate it. It could be something simple like a special treat or a meal out but by celebrating your wins, you’ll be motivated to keep going.
Designing the Hack Your Habits training course has literally changed my life! I’ve been learning Spanish for over a year now and I’ve just hit my 500 day streak on Duolingo! I wanted to get healthier and briefly got a 4-pack (abs not beer). I’m not brave enough to show you my before and after photos but they were in my local gym for a while. I know! 🙈
With the right approach, it is possible to change your habits and achieve your goals. Start small, make it easy, create a cue, change your environment, celebrate your wins, and make it fun. By following these tips you’ll be well on your way to creating new, positive habits that really could change your life. Go for it and start today!