In a study by Phillippa Lally it was shown that the average person takes 66 days to form a habit. Sound like a long time? Rest assured, for some people applying the correct techniques, a new habit was formed in only 18 days. Here is a brilliant method of easily forming a new habit and ensuring that becomes embedded in your routine.
Now I won’t go over basic and general steps such as “Make it achievable“, “Ensure it makes positive change“. Everyone knows any goal (such as forming a habit) should be achievable and pushing your life in a positive direction. For example, if you want to start a fitness goal, making a habit of doing 5,000 push-ups a day may not be very achievable, but hey, who am I to try to stop you, you go for it! Rather than be general tips, I’m going to cover a technique that has been proven to work and is written in detail about in “The Power of Habit” by Charles Duhigg.
This technique is to set up a very simple feedback loop for your habit.
Elements of a Habit Feedback Loop (The three Rs)
The first step is to set a cue. This is what will remind you to do the habit whilst you’re still trying to embed it into your daily routine. This could be as simple as an alarm on your phone or when an event happens in the day. Try to make this cue a positive cue such as setting the alarm to your favorite song that always puts you in a good mood. This will accelerate the habit-forming process.
The next section is simply performing the routine or action of your habit.
Final step! Use positive reinforcement on yourself to really make sure this habit sticks in your day to day life. Use anything that makes you happy such as a healthy snack or taking a period of the day out of the day for yourself.
It’s as simple as that. As the reward is positive you’ll have a desire to complete the action again which takes us back to the top of our feedback loop.
Reminder. Routine. Reward. (Oh and make sure to Repeat so that habit is formed!)
Follow this feedback loop for a few weeks and that new habit will be well embedded in your daily routine.