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How Do I Create New Habits?

Jan 09, 2023


Creating new habits can be difficult.


Have you tried to create new habits, but it just doesn’t last? I don’t know about you, but I have tried many times to create new habits in my life. My thought process was like this:


I've decided that this week I'm going to do 10 minutes of meditation in the morning. I'm also going to go to a yoga class. I'm going to do a run. I'm going to eat this new thing and that healthy thing. I'm going to be super productive and have this whole evening routine that changes my life completely.




It never works out.


Of course, it doesn’t; it's just too much too soon. There’s too much expectation, too much room to fail, and too much room to feel bad about yourself and just revert to old ways.


I'm going to introduce you to a better way to create habits bit by bit. A way that lasts and will help you change your life.


I've got a four-step process that’s super simple. I invite you to try out just one new thing. Try it out and see how it works!


What are habits?


Habit is subconscious programming in your mind, e.g., automatic patterns and automatic behaviours that are subconscious.


For example, with habitual dieting, the brain just always wants to save calories, save energy, save thinking room basically, so it automates thoughts that you do repeatedly to make them much more manageable. That subconscious act becomes a habit.


Most of your day is made up of habits, very little of your day is conscious thinking of doing new things. The subconscious fights new habits that we try to create because it's seen as a ‘threat’. The new habit is trying to change the subconscious and the ego just wants to do what it’s always done.


At some point though, we've got to push through.



How do I change a habit?


There are a few things to note before changing or developing a habit successfully:


  1.   It will be a conscious effort. It's not a habit yet. You've got to make it subconscious.


Creating or changing a habit is going to be a bit of work at the start, but it pays off!

Before you even realize it, it's normal for you to be doing a five-minute meditation practice in the morning, drinking your lemon water in the morning, or whatever you want your new habit to be.


That's just who you are because it's ingrained in your habitual pattern.


A thing to be aware of as you are trying to change your behaviours and change your habits is that your subconscious is going to be trying to fight you off the whole way, at least for quite some time. The ego doesn't want change. It wants things to be easy, even if what's familiar and what's normal for you now is not necessarily good for you.


The subconscious just wants what's familiar.


  1.   With creating new habits or behaviours, you want them to line up with your belief system.


If your belief system is, ‘I'm a lazy person who doesn't really like exercising’, and you're trying to force yourself to go on a 15-minute run every day, it's going to be difficult for you.


Those beliefs that you hold about yourself are at a subconscious level are completely mismatched with the behaviour you’re trying to do. Eventually, you're going to self-sabotage and it's going to be an internal fight.


What I invite you to do is:


Think about the belief systems you hold about yourself first.


If they're not the kind of beliefs that you think will lead to the best version of you, or if your beliefs are I'm shit, I'm ugly, I suck, I can't do this, I'm a loser, I'm lazy, it'll be hard to create these new habits.


Look at those beliefs and first change at that level. If you try to do behaviours that don't match up with your beliefs, it's going be an uphill battle because your brain is thinking This isn't even me. This is just not the kind of person I am.


  1.   It's going to be difficult, but the funny thing is, part of shifting those beliefs is acting in alignment with a new belief.


Let’s say as an example is you want to be the kind of person who does five runs a week, but right now your belief is, I'm unfit. I'm not an athlete. I hate exercise. If you want to shift your belief too, I enjoy exercise, it makes me feel good. At some point, you've got to start taking these small actions that match that new belief, which will probably mean a bit of exercise.


  1.   Start small.


Don't try to jump in and do five runs a week, because that will be misaligned with that old belief, just try to do a five-minute run once a week; that's in alignment with the new belief.


When you do these actions, remember to affirm yourself by saying things such as ‘This is just me. I'm just the kind of person who enjoys exercise. This feels good.’ Build that up slowly over time, and keep affirming yourself. ‘Yeah, that's just who I am. It's easy to do one or two runs a week because I'm someone who likes to do exercise and makes me feel good.’


We want to dig into your beliefs before we try to change behaviours and we don't self-sabotage.

What are the four steps to creating a new habit?

Step 1: Choose the habit.


What is it going to be?


Something I recommend is to find the tiniest thing you can do. Let's say, you want to be someone who does breath work for 10 minutes each morning. Don't go straight for the daily 10 minutes, do the tiniest, almost insignificant bit of breath work that you can do. Something along the lines of ‘I'm going to do five breaths every morning when I wake up or after breakfast or something so insignificant that it almost makes no difference to your life, to your routine.


This is step one, choose the habit that you want to create and make it small and realistic. It’s so doable that you won't fail the first day of trying to do it.


Step 2: Be intentional.


Now that you've chosen to have that habit, you must commit to it in your mind and your body. Remember that you're going to have to be patient with yourself. You're going to keep committing to it every day or however often you need it to be.


Put your hand on your heart, take a few deep breaths in, and commit to making that decision within yourself, that you are going to stick to this.


Taking deep breaths can help you get into a state of calmness.


Step three: Do it, no matter what.



The start of building the habit is crucial to the development of the habit itself. Don't go back on your promise to yourself.


I've done so much of chipping away at that trust in myself. After years of the cycle of bingeing and dieting and telling myself never again, my word almost meant nothing to me.


I'd say things such as, I'm only going to eat this many calories this week, or I'm going to lose this much weight this week. But it meant nothing because I never carried through with it since I broke my promises to myself.


Keep those promises to yourself. Do it no matter what, it's non-negotiable.

Step four: Build empowerment.


There are three parts to this.


  •    First, ask yourself: Why do I want to build this habit?


Sometimes, we want to show ourselves that we can do the things that we say we're going to do. We want to show ourselves how good it feels to do it.


When that sinks into your subconscious brain that's been fighting off this behavior change, the subconscious mind thinks ‘yeah, I see the changes. This makes my life better. I'm going to keep doing this with no friction anymore.’


  •    Secondly, simply notice.


Being present and noticing that you've done the thing you said you were going to do is an important part of building empowerment.


It's easy to just continue with your day and not truly be present with the fact that you stuck to your word, so yes, this step is super important. Don't minimize the fact that you did it.


It’s really easy to minimize your actions and think to yourself, ‘Well, of course, I did it, it was just three or four breaths. I could do that easily. It's nothing. But, it is something!!


Don't minimize your actions no matter how small you think it is. You are making a change. You're doing that conscious work.


This is difficult because your subconscious is fighting you off all the way through. It's hard, and yet you put energy into it; you made your commitment and you stuck to it. You have your intention, and you did it. You stuck to your word!


Notice that and reward yourself.


Maybe it's as simple as a small smile to yourself or feeling the warmth in your heart or even just a thought like, ‘That's cool that I did it. I did, and it feels good.’


  •    Thirdly, observe the changes.


Be aware of the changes over a long period. Since we're doing a really small action like five new breaths a day or something, you're not going to be able to notice any difference during the first few days. Over time, however, you will be able to start observing the changes.


You want to build empowerment by thinking Wow, that made a huge difference in my life, it made me feel so much better. My mind is so much clearer. I'm more productive. I feel more confident in myself.


That's what you want to see because that sinks into your subconscious. It becomes easier for it to be a habit and for you to continue building on that habit of maybe taking deeper breaths in the morning.


In the end, maybe your thought process will be I could do that. I did this habit. It felt great. It changed my life. Let me do another small habit as well.


To recap:


There are four things to note before taking the steps to build or change a habit:


  1.   It’s a conscious effort.
  2.   The habit must align with your belief system.
  3.   Take action.
  4.   Start small.


The four steps are:


  1.   Choose it.

-   Make it tiny and insignificant. Make it so small that it's almost nothing additional to your day-to-day routine.

  1.   Commit to it.

-   Let yourself know on a deep cellular level that you are going to stick to this.

  1.   Do it, no matter what.

-   Especially at the start when you're building it, keep the promise that you make to yourself. Don't keep eroding that self-trust.

  1.   Build empowerment.

-   Allow your subconscious to see how great it feels to do this, and notice that you're doing the things you say you're going to do. Don't minimize it. Reward yourself further, even if it's just a small smile to yourself, and observe the changes over a long period.


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