How many times we could fulfil our new year resolution or failed to develop a good habit or it dies natural death after few days of initiation????
Why it is so DIFFICULT to be habitual of any new habit (especially good) despite knowing the numerous benefits of that. Another point to ponder is most of the good habits do not give us immediate pleasure and results, as compare to addictive habits example- exercise shape your body after months and alcohol boost your mood immediately
A common saying- Brain is poor MASTER and good SLAVE, therefore poor in authoritative roles and better in following dictating orders, another characteristic of the brain is that it loves automation, seems lazy in nature, as most of Us.
When we are in the process of developing any new activity/learning/habit, the brain uses its two parts, the basal ganglia for performing the process and the prefrontal cortex for activity analysis to facilitate automation. Once we learnt the process, the prefrontal cortex stops its involvement and activity went into automation mode- the best example is driving. The process of learning driving is difficult and systematic but once trained, hands move automatically, but that all comes from practice, determination to learn driving and conviction that we can do it. Therefore psyche play important role in the development of a good habit.
Introduction of science behind the habit
The structure of habit is important to comprehend to develop a habit. To build a habit need needs a CAR or TAR I,e Cue (Trigger), Action and Reward. It is all self-explanatory but as per psychological research, the maximum habit murdered or die a natural death due to lack of reward system in our habit-building process. Do you remember your school days, when our teacher asked the class to clap on the right answer, parents patted on the shoulder or prizes or gifts for our achievements?
Once you decided to do start any good habit its means you already infected with a trigger or cue. Studies say a positive motivation is better than a negative eg. "I will win this match is a better inspiration to put your energy for the desired goal than I will make them defeat". This trigger even works better if associated with strong emotional reason- there should be a genuine deep reason- WHY are we doing this. The strong reason of Why? further, help to develop a habit and compliance of the routine.
The next pillar of structure of habit is Action; to develop a sustainable habit you should understand the meaning of the phrase of slow and steady wins the race. Therefore, action should be SMART- specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time-bounded. don’t be hasty for your result, you need up to 66 (don’t get disheartened-its just a number, you have to live with your good habit life long after that) days to develop a habit. Another motivating result of a study says, if you start your action even 1% then by the end of the year you will be able to achieve 37% of your goal; well this is not a bad deal with only 1% efforts, but consistency is the key to achieve that. If you improve your writing skills then reading-writing one page daily will improve your skills 37% at the end of the one year.
Another most crucial part of habit building is NET-Never Escape Twice. So, avoid skipping your action in the beginning days and if it happens then should not be twice, otherwise, failure chances will increase.
Third, an important and mostly overlooked pillar of the Habit structure is a reward system. According to studies maximum habits could not survive due to lack of appreciation system and either murdered or die a natural death in the absence of acknowledgement or appreciation.
Learn with every day’s example
Have you ever wondered and analyzed; why are we easily get habitual of bad habits than good habit? Because, bad habits have a more robust structure i,e CAR than a good habit. Let's take video game addiction, triggered by the peers and social trends, TV almost multi-dimensional triggers, it’s easy to start this action as mobile phones are easily accessible and video game offered excellent reward system and that is how it keeps kids stick to this habit. Similarly, alcohol addiction, our social community gives trigger, enough visual display with celebrity (advertisement), you take action in peer pressure or company and you feel relax as it activates your neurotransmitters. This immediate reward of feeling relaxed as well as you enjoy peer company make you prone to drink next time also. On contrary all good habits fail to do so- immediate reward or happiness, therefore, you must have listened many times that start exercise in a group of friends.
Hence we are learning from the bad habit system to making the good habit system resilient and smooth process of developmental phase. If you want to lose weight or make yourself healthy - you should start with 10 minutes of exercise or 5 minutes, but be regular and consistent without making any lapse/break in routine. As once our brain starts getting similar habit at a regular interval then it gets signals to make automation due to its basic nature, once its go into automatic mode then brain reminds us automatically for the same.
Action: DO not forget to make a SMART goal in your personal life also. So, write your good habit in this format keep it at a visual distance such as a mobile screen, desktop screen, cupboard, in the kitchen or wherever you can see it regularly. Writing your SMART aim with red ink will add more impact, as it stimulates the physical-strength courage property. Being over-ambitious in aim and action also a poor prognostic (predictive) marker of sustainable good habit development eg I will lose 20 kg in a month etc- a wrong way of setting the expectation, be realistic in goal setting so that motivation will come with achievable results.
Reward system, when starting first steps towards your good activity appreciate your efforts by any means, like a piece of chocolate, or buying long awaiting fragrance or buying a bracelet or a poster with a nice motivating quote, or meeting your friend and sharing this news with her to get more inspiration or motivation, but please do not hide your great efforts towards a great achievement. Do not wait you will surprise the world with results but start appreciating your every step towards building a good habit. Share your small achievements- even sharing about starting a good habit with friends or circles of positive, constructive and encouraging people will give a boost to do it.
How to develop a good habit in pointers.
- CAR-Cue (Trigger) Action Reward
- Take a small- simple steps towards your goal
- Break your habit down to start asap
- NET- Never Escape Twice
- Consistency, Faith in your own Success is mantra (Key)
- Be patience- don’t be in hasty for results (Hindi - Apna Time Aayega)
- Share your small achievement with your circle who can encourage further- social media also