OSEA Safety Blog

Is it Time to Make or Break a Habit?

Saturday, August 10, 2019 Michele Pratt

We are all such creatures of habit. What kind of habits do you have? Do you have some good habits, like exercising five times a week? Or do you have some bad habits, like staying up too late or spending too much time on social media? Some experts say it takes approximately 2 months (closer to 66 days) when a new behavior or habit becomes automatic. Another good rule to follow is to commit to 3 weeks or 21 days. If you have followed your goal and it feels like a habit, then commit to another 90 days. We often utilize this plan at the beginning of a year in New Year’s Resolutions. We decide we want to work out more to lose those extra pounds that have piled up during the holidays, spend time with family, or learn a new language.

Habits are easy for our brains to recognize, habits are comfortable. How often do you get into your car and end up at your destination but, you don’t remember how you arrived there? That’s because your daily route is a habit. How do you successfully make or break a habit? Spend some time thinking about how you are motivated? Are you a visual learner, will photos of the vacation you want to take or the outfit you want to wear after your diet motivate you? If you are visual then have photos where you will see them daily; in your car, on your mirror, on the front of your refrigerator. Do you feel inspired by listening to a Podcast or a Ted Talk? Listen to an inspirational story related to the habit you are looking to make or break. Do you learn or are you motivated from being hands-on? To elevate your success, make sure you schedule hands-on experiences. An ideal example of this would be developing an exercise routine. Do you like to read inspirational articles or quotations? A simple “you can do it” message can be very effective.

These are all great ideas but how do you elevate your level of success? Start with the end in mind. A dream without a plan is just a wish. Map out on your calendar for the next three weeks a daily time slot to either spend time on your habit that you are working to make, or, fill the time you would normally spend watching television and schedule yourself to read or take a walk. If you are visual then write it out on a calendar, auditory, then make yourself a recorded reminder that you can listen to. If you simply plan your “work” then work your plan for at least three weeks you will successfully have mastered making or breaking a habit.

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