Developing Good Habits

Last month, I decided the best way to start the new year was to pace myself. My goal as a leadership coach and professional organizer is to help clients set and achieve their goals and maintain balance in their lives. My resolution was to do my best to practice what I preach. I spent the last 30 days working to set some new plans in place to make slowing down a habit. Since January, our “trial month”, is finally over (Woo hoo! Was that not the longest month ever?) I am excited to share with you how you can set goals in February that are guaranteed to succeed. How do we do that? With science!

Can I get a high five? #GroundhogDay

We are all always looking for ways to make our lives more fulfilling. Easier. So we set a goal like a new year’s resolution. And even though it may be hard to stick to at first, we know that if we just keep at it, things will improve. The thing is, sometimes we make changes we think will work and we still don’t get the desired results. Sort of like the movie Groundhog Day. 

That’s why, just like in the movie, training and repetition are the keys to creating a good habit with successful results. It is science, really. Neuroscience to be exact.  

“Synapses that fire together, wire together.”

-Donald O. Hebb

Neuroscience is a very powerful mental tool that breaks old bad habits and creates new, healthy ones. 

I know, I know. I made it sound so easy. 

The fact that creating a new habit isn’t AT ALL easy is part of neuroscience, too!  

There’s a saying that I love: “Synapses that fire together, wire together.” MIT researchers were able to identify specific neurons that fire at the start and end of repeat behavior. It isn’t a habit for the neurons yet either, but as it becomes one, it forms a distinctive brain pattern and becomes more of a habit. This is why it may be tough to start a new habit, but it’s even tougher to break out of a bad one. 

Science, baby!

Setting a new habit to replace is actually easier than telling your brain to just break the old pattern. It’s like your mind is a stubborn child. If you tell it no, it will want whatever it can’t have, but if you give it a new toy (aka a new habit), it will play with it as its new favorite thing. Achieving goals is a matter of getting your brain to play with this new concept long enough, creating and repeating the GOOD habit, until it becomes the new routine. 

Nobody likes restrictions, even your brain

They say it takes 21 days to form a new habit. You have gotten through 21 days of a lot of things so let’s give it a try. 

Habits get a bad rep, but habits can be good for you!

Repeat a GOOD habit 21 days in a row. Start with something small. Every day drink a glass of water right after getting up or clean out one file folder on your computer each day or one drawer in your kitchen. Try looking in the mirror for 21 days in a row while you say to yourself, “I am a goddess” instead of looking for “flaws”. Get up 30 minutes earlier every day for 21 days in a row. It is amazing how small life ‘edits’ add up to big life changes.

Ready to get started and still not sure what to do first? Contact Design Happy for a complimentary coaching and/or organization consultation! 

Less Stress, More Smiles – Design Happy!