Whether you live in Jupiter, FL, or anywhere in the world. Whether you're working with a therapist, or on your own. We all have habits we'd like to create, and some not-so-healthy habits we'd love to get rid of.
When most of us are trying to either add a habit or break one, we will ask the question “how long is this going to take to become a habit” or alternatively “how long will it take me to break the habit?” I’m sure most of you have heard about the 21 days to break a habit rule, but have you ever thought that we are maybe focusing on the wrong thing? According to James Clear in Atomic Habits, we are actually focusing on the wrong question. The question should actually be, how many times do I have to do this before it becomes a habit?
Donald Hebb is widely known as the father of neuropsychology and is a strong influence on many a therapist today. In 1949 he said, “Neurons that fire together wire together”. What Donald Hebb was actually implying is that the more we engage in the habit or behavior we are trying to change, then the behavior becomes progressively more automatic through repetition.
James Clear from Atomic Habit talks about making our habits easy to do, so why is that important? Water will always go along the path of least resistance and as human beings, we are no different. So to start a new habit or engage in new behavior, we need to make sure that we are creating an environment that is going to make it easy for us.
For example, if you live in Jupiter and want to go to the gym, try and make sure that it is not just in your town, but near your house, or on the way home from work. If you find yourself constantly rescheduling with the physical therapist or coach, consider finding one closer to you. If you want to eat healthier, then on the weekend cut up a ton of fruit and vegetables and place them in the fridge at eye level to eat during the week.
What if you are trying to break a bad habit or behavior? In that case, you will want to make it more difficult to engage in it. For example, if you want to cut back on social media, then when you are working or just resting, put your phone in another room. Want to stop eating candy, first of all, don’t buy it, but if you have to, it should be out of sight deep in the back of the cupboard where you have to move everything to get at it.
Want more tips for that new year's resolution? Well, in Jupiter, our therapists often see patients around January with lofty goals for the new year, and subsequently coming back a few months later beating themselves up for not achieving them. The solution here wouldn't be necessarily to abandon your goals, but rather to try a different approach. What could that be?
We have all heard of the two-minute rule… you know the one where you drop your favorite piece of food on the floor and you really want to eat it. Is anyone looking? Well, who cares it’s the two-minute rule. According to James Clear in Atomic Habits, we have the two-minute rule for changing habits or behaviors. Yes, all you need to do is to scale the habit or behavior down.
For example, you may want to start running, well committing to a marathon or even a 5k is hard right? Even committing to walking 10,000 steps per day can be moderately hard. So let's start with someone really easy. Every time you walk in the house, put on your running shoes. Next step, walk for 10 minutes, and after that commit to walking 10,000 steps and so on. The key is to think of the new habit or behavior in its simplest form and just do it, as Nike would say.
James Clear's advice here is invaluable and has helped many people change their lives for the better. Some of us have trouble creating healthy thought patterns that put plans into action. A therapist helps you take that final step, helping you achieve habits that lead you to the life you want. Clarity Health Solutions is an experienced group of licensed therapists driven to guide the way for people's growth.
If you are ready to invest in your personal growth, we can help, so reach out to us at 561-781-3333