Take Charge of Your Habits

According to a study by Phillipa Lally,  it can take anything from 18 to 254 days (depending on the person and situation) to develop a habit.

This quote about habits says why you need to take charge of the ones in your life.

take charge of your habits quote

“A change in bad habits leads to a change in life.”  Jenny Craig.

If you don’t take charge of your habits, even ones that seem harmless, they will easily control you.  So what do you have to do to make those changes?

While habits are easily formed and followed through, especially once your brain recognizes them as habits, you can still change them. Always remember that you are in control, not your habits.

Habit expert and writer of the book ‘Atomic Habits’ James Clear has four rules for forming habits that can help you take charge of them. Whether the habits are good or bad, you can still use these rules to gain some measure of control.

These rules, according to Atomic Habits, are:

  • Make it obvious
  • Make it attractive
  • Make it easy
  • Make it satisfying

Take Charge of Your Habits – Make it Obvious

To take charge of your habits, you need to make them obvious. For example, let’s say you want to start running. If your running shoes and gear are in the closet, then that habit isn’t apparent.

Instead of sifting through your wardrobe for your shoes, your brain will just want to stay in bed. So, you can put your running shoes by the door and make sure that they are the first thing you see in the morning. Then you’ll be reminded that you should run today.

To break bad habits, you want to hide them away.

Take Charge of Your Habits – Make it Attractive

take charge of your habits

With habits, most people focus on the long-term goals. You might say, “I will go for a run to get my body in shape in ten weeks.”

While that goal is noble, it does nothing when running in the cold and feeling miserable. So, make your habits attractive and give yourself a reward or incentive to get it done.

You can run with a friend or your dog if you have one.  Design your running trail to pass by a place where you can have breakfast or see some of your favourite sites.

For bad habits, add extra steps or make the habit very unattractive.

Take Charge of Your Habits – Make it Easy

take charge of your habits

Remember, the brain always takes on the path of least resistance. If that path happens to lead to your habit, then more power to you.

It might seem counter-intuitive, but instead of telling yourself, “I will run a mile today”; say that you will only run around the block. Having smaller or micro-habits will make everything easier and will help you do them.

Most people go too big, get discouraged, and then get burnt out. Chunk it down. Reading one page of a book, or doing one push-up is something that takes no time at all. It is an easy way to begin.

Plus, if you can change one small habit, then you can do another and another.  Before you know it you will have made significant changes to make your life better.

Take Charge of Your Habits – Make it Satisfying

take charge of your habits and reward yourself

Reward yourself along the journey for your habits, and you’ll keep doing them. Maybe if you go running for thirty days, give yourself some type of reward.

Have a good meal, watch a movie, do something you wouldn’t normally do, and also reflect on how running has made you a better person than you were 30 days ago.

For bad habits, remove the satisfaction from them, and you won’t see them as a reward.

You Are In Control

Remember that every habit comes from your own brain, and you are the one in control.  Take that first step to make it happen. If you want to make or break a habit, you are the only one who can do so.

Tracking your progress is a very important part of taking charge of your habits.   When you are making changes in your life, record them.  This will give you evidence of where you have come from to where you are now.

Whether you use a journal or create a personal development plan, if you follow the four steps, you’ll find that it gets easier and easier to take charge and make your habits work for you.