learn-new-habits

How To Easily Learn Any Habit – Intentional Living

Habits are one of the most interesting concepts.

Each of us, has habits whether we like them or not, choose them or not, and want them or not.

They dictate about 40% of all of our actions.(1)

Yet, most of the habits that we have are those that we didn’t end up choosing, and instead, they were sparked by reptition and the strenghting of certain neural connections.

On the other hand, take Janurary as a testament for people inentionally trying to learn and implement new habits, but utterly failing.

The new year brings new failed resolutions.

Although, you can be equipped with everything you need to implement habits. It all starts by knowing why we normally fail.

Why Do We Fail When Starting New Habits?

How many friends have you seen start something and then crash and burn?

They run right out of the gates, stumble a little, and give up.

While a lot of this has to do with perceived energy (which we will get to in a moment) it’s also because we end up shooting for the stars before we notice the moon as a destination in the journey.

A journey is all about putting one foot in front of the other.

Taking gradual, and albiet small steps, over and over again until the exponential gain takes place.

Which is usually why the most important part of implementing any habit is consistency.

Consistency – Do It For A Month

Three weeks into January, most people have quit their new habits and stopped their New Year’s resolution.

They did it for “most” of the days, but then just got tired of it either because they didn’t see results or it was tedious.

As I hinted before, thinking something is tedious or requires too much energy is only because you haven’t wired it yet.

The brain works in a certain way. Our neuronal pathways fire in a certain pattern and then take hold wiring in the pattern.

To undo a new pattern or learn a new pattern, we have to continually do something for about a month. Then the brain takes hold and it becomes simple to implement anything.

Now, as for results, almost everything you do today you won’t see tomorrow.

But habits function like mathematical principles.

It’s the law of exponentials. For each day you do something, it adds onto the day before and all the days you’ve done something.

Day 1 = 1 ; Day 2 = 1 + 1 ; Day 3 = 2 + 1 + 1 ; Day 4 = 3 + 2 + 1 + 1

When we constantly reinforce something by doing it every day for over a month, we build up an exponential wave that allows us to accomplish just what we want to.

The problem is, we often (unintentionally) put obstacles in our way.

Remove The Obstacles (Intentional Living)

Lately, this has been one of the most important topics on my mind.

Why do we put roadblocks in front of ourselves when we are doing something we want to do?

It doesn’t make much sense until you realize it’s just your patterns doing it (the neurons firing and wiring).

That’s why we have to identify those patterns and make sure that they don’t become obstacles from what we are trying to do.

For instance, most people “forget” to floss. In other words, there was no reason they should remember to floss besides the fact that they just should.

Why do we forget? Because we end up putting the floss in a drawer tucked away and hidden from us. 

On the other hand, we grab the toothbrush that is laying out every single evening and brush our teeth.

Solution? Stop putting the floss out of sight and keep it next to the toothbrush. (Idea from Atomic Habits

Another important obstacle we have is our entertainment systems. 

Most of us would gain a lot more from genuine human communication or reading a book than we would the TV. 

Yet, all of our rooms are set up to face the tv. 

That means you get into bed, sit on your comfy chair, or plop on the couch and face the TV. If point A leads to point B, then that means: C is turning the TV on.

Remove these obstacles, these little intrustions, that have been built into your day and learning any new habit will feel effortless.

Support Yourself Intentionally

On the same topic, we often don’t help ourselves do something.

Hoping and willing the universe into helping us can detract us from what we really need to do: Set yourself up for success.

Now, it’s a lot easier than you’d think. Just like we talked about before with intentionally stopping these obstacles we set for ourselves, we can give ourselves a booster seat to reach higher, easier.

And of course, it starts with micro habits and your environment.

Implementing Microhabits

Microhabits are those little habits you don’t think much about, that add up over time.

Heck, everything you do adds up, and that is the exponential curve that can get you somewhere a lot faster (and easier) than you thought was possible.

For instance, by planning your day the night before, you go to sleep worry free and with a clear track for the next day.

I.e. less energy spent trying to figure out what to do and more energy doing.

Stacking your microhabits in your favor can be the difference between falling into success and having to climb to get it.

A Productive Environment

Then we have your environment.

Everything around you, and how you set it up, makes a massive difference.

If you work in the kitchen, you’re a lot more likely to think about food and want to eat more.

On the other hand, work in bed and when you want to turn off your mind to fall asleep, only thoughts about work come up.

We humans are very interesting. If you’ve ever had the whiff of a perfume or cologne and were taken back to a memory then you understand how our brains work.

We contextualize and connect so much. Set your environment up for work and you’ll think about work, set it up to relax and you will relax.

Make your environment work for you.

Don’t Do Too Much

People often make the mistake of doing too much with being over-ambitious.

When someone starts running they don’t think that a marathon is within their reach in a week or two.

The same thing happens when anyone undertakes a new habit or task that they want to implement into their life.

Take working out for example, whenever people start a new workout routine, they end up trying to go 5 days a week when they should have started with one.

When it comes down to it, building a habit has functions like an X and Y axis.

You want to be able to hit an intermediary point where the difficulty is enough to challenge you and create novelty, but not to much where it pains you.

And the ease/effort falls along the lines of easy to manage without feeling like a worthless habit.

Have A Why – Purpose is Important

Why are you doing what you are doing?

That is going to be one of the most important things to ask yourself at the beginning.

Start figuring out why you actually want to learn and implement a new habit. If it is for you, then it should have an easy to identify purpose.

By understanding why you want to do something, you’ll be much more likely to do it.

I.E. I want to eat health in order to feel great so that I can be the person I know I can be.

Start Now – Free Excel Sheet To Track Habits

Instead of waiting to set up your habits, you need to start now.

Fresh off of the momentum of a few mental breakthroughs, we all can start (slow) and being to change ourselves for the better.

Below, I’m including a free spreadsheet for tracking your goals.

In the top, put down your major monthly and weekly goals.

Then over time track your progress and see if you really are experiencing better results and staying on track with your habits.

This is not meant to be tedious, but instead, an easy and simple way to quantify your progress on habit creation.

Get the spreadsheet here -> Daily Performance Tracking

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