Habits define us; they can break us or make us. Habits hold the potential to shape your life. Each habit contributes to your future. Habits are small choices you make; they are the daily actions you take.
Your genes don’t decide your genius, your habits do.– Robin Sharma
Everything you are today is a result of your habits. What you repeatedly do, each day, will end up forming you. This being said, it becomes crucial to inculcate good habits.
There are three stages to the habit installation protocol.
Each stage lasts 22 days. After this, it leads to automaticity, and then there’s no turning back.
Changes can often be difficult, but certain tricks and strategies can help you stay put.
Bad habits jeopardize you, mentally and physically. They waste your time and energy. So, why do we still do them? The answer is, it helps you deal with stress or boredom.
But are there certain beliefs or events that are behind your bad habits? Is there something more profound — a fear, a past, or a limiting belief — that is causing you to hold on to something wrong for you?
Recognising the causes of your bad habits is crucial for overcoming them.
Three Habit Installation Protocols
The first stage of creating any new habit is destruction. It is much like overcoming inertia. To change our previous patterns and rewire our brain, we need to put some effort in the beginning.
Destroying our old ways is similar to the launch of a bow and arrow. The bow uses an enormous amount of setback in the first few seconds after pulling it back; then, it consumes over the release of the arrow.
The reason being it needs to overcome the powerful forces. Once the momentum kicks in, the arrow shoots easily.
In a similar way, we need to overcome our deeply rooted ingrained habits, and we need to battle our forces and inner demons until we escape and are able to gather some momentum or stability.
The second stage is Installation, which can also be referred to as chaos and irritability.
It’s like we’re going through a self revolution. Previously established foundations are torn down so that the new better ones can be set up.
During this stage, it’s likely to feel overwhelmed, confused, or frustrated. This is the stage where you’ll be battling your inner demons and monsters, but it’s necessary in order for you to win.
This is the stage for the true warrior within you to shine and conquer.
The third and final stage is Integration, when it all comes together.
As you enter this stage, you’re more skilled and in better touch with your self. All the sacrifice and suffering along with your grit and courage come together as the new habit finds a way to integrate at a mental, physical, emotional, and spiritual level.
It becomes your new reality from now on.
At around the sixty-six-day mark, it locks as an automatic routine, and that’s when you’ve reached the Automaticity Point.
Don’t eliminate bad habits, replace them.
For example, if you drink alcohol when you get stressed, then the advice “just stop drinking” wouldn’t work.
Instead, you should come up with a different way to deal with stress and insert that new behavior instead of having another drink.
The If-Then Technique
This technique forces you to create a strategy for reducing the scope of failing.
All you need to do is complete this phrase: “If [something unexpected], then [your response].”
For instance, “if I don’t wake up in time to run tomorrow morning, then I’ll run after work.”
If I can’t make it to yoga during my lunch break, then I’ll take a stretching break this afternoon.
This technique allows you to make it through the destruction phase, effortlessly.
Cut out as many triggers as possible.
If you smoke when you drink, then don’t go to the bar. If you eat chips or chocolates when they are in the house, then throw them all away.
If the first thing you do when you sit on the couch is pick up the TV remote, then hide the remote in a closet in a different room.
Make it easier on yourself to break bad habits by avoiding the things that cause them.
Believe in yourself
See yourself throwing away the sugar and alcohol. Visualize yourself buying healthy food or waking up on time.
No habit installation protocol will work if you cannot believe in yourself.
Avoid negative self-talk, lift your spirits by listening to motivational podcasts or power music. Do more; talk less.
Whatever the bad habit is that you are looking to break. See yourself building a new identity and crushing your goals.
Surround yourself with positive influence
If the people around you prevent you from making good choices for yourself, by all means, replace them with better connections.
Consider joining a support or emotional group online. Invest in a mentor, allow them to help you get to the other side.
The Paper Clip Strategy
Begin each morning with two jars on your desk. Make a list of tasks for the day.
Count the number of tasks and replace them with paper clips in one jar. With each task completion, move one paper clip to another jar.
Keep at it until you have moved all the paper clips to the second jar.
Consider investing in a planner or journal to keep track of your progression.
There is no secret sauce or a magic bullet to the habit installation protocol. Good habits are the magic bullet and the key to transforming your life.