Have you struggled to create a new helpful habit—one that supports your efforts to achieve a goal or dream? Or have you found it challenging to break unhelpful habits that don’t support your efforts to get the results you desire?
Most habit-formation experts say it takes a minimum of 30 days to develop a new habit. However, others claim it takes as many as 200+ days to truly solidify a new behavior.
They’ve done the research. I’m not saying these experts are wrong, but…
Habit Formation can be Easy and Fast
I can tell you that forming a new helpful habit doesn’t have to take that long. In fact, you can have a new habit in 24 hours or less.
Not only that, when you create a helpful habit, an unhelpful habit disappears. This is because the new habit replaces the old one you previously struggled to break.
Who am I to make this claim?
First, I’m a transformational coach. I combine my High Performance Coaching certification with my knowledge of metaphysical tools to offer a unique brand of personal and spiritual growth coaching.
Second—and more importantly, I’m someone who has done it! I have created a new habit in less than 24 hours. And if I can do it, so can you.
Forming a Helpful Habit Fast
For years, I had the unhelpful habit of hitting the snooze button when my alarm went off in the morning. It’s no wonder, therefore, that I couldn’t seem to develop the helpful habit I wanted—a morning routine. I never had time to journal, meditate, exercise, or read before starting my workday. I was too busy lying in bed.
Then, one day, I decided I would no longer be a person who hit the snooze button. Instead, I would be a person who woke up when the alarm rang.
The following day, the alarm rang, and…you guessed it…I hit the snooze button. But then I thought: Oh, right! I said, starting today, I would be a person who has the habit of waking up when the alarm rings. If that’s who I am now, I better turn off that snooze button and get up.
So, I did…and I’ve never hit the snooze button again.
That’s how fast I formed a new helpful habit.
I’ve done the same with my self-hypnosis habit. I decided to do self-hypnosis twice per day—that I would be the type of person committed to this daily practice. I began the next day, and I have kept that promise to myself for 256 days straight. It’s a streak I don’t plan to break.
3 Steps to New Helpful Habits
It’s time to finally create the habit or habits that will help you create what you want, is it not? And it’s time to sustain those habits—rather than starting, stopping, starting stopping, right?
Of course, it is.
So, here’s my three-step Helpful Habit Creation Process. Give it a try.
Step 1: Identify a needle-moving habit.
To identify the habit that will “move the needle” and help you travel toward your goal or dream faster, first, determine what you want to accomplish. What do you want to create or achieve in the next three, six, or twelve months? What result would you like to get?
Second, get clear on why that goal, dream, or result is important to you. How will it change you or your life? Take some time to journal about or visualize what your life will be like in five years if you achieve the goal, realize the dream, or get the result…and if you don’t.
Third, identify a habit that will help you create what you want. What habit will move the needle the most? Why that habit? What makes it a needle mover? What does your life look like in three or six months if you have this habit? What if you don’t?
Step 2: Become a Person who has the Habit
This step is all about developing the habit you chose and doing it fast! How do you do that? Simple.
Be a person who would have that habit. Right now…be that person.
Let me explain.
First, consider who you know who has the habit you have chosen. Find role models. How would you describe these people? What is their “identity”?
Second, choose a new identity for yourself. For example, to stop hitting the snooze button, I decided to “be a person who woke up when the alarm rang.” For my daily self-hypnosis habit, I chose to “be the type of person who is committed to this daily practice.”
You might find it helpful to describe your new identity or even give it a name.
The third part of this step is where the magic happens. When you take on that identity and become “a person who ____ (fill in the blank with your habit), you develop the habit. Be that person…and you will have the habits of someone with that identity.
Step into that identity 100 percent. Be that person right now.
Despite what you might think, you don’t have to wait until you have more time, earn more money, the kids are grown, or anything like that. So give up those excuses, all of which are focused on external circumstances.
To develop your new helpful habit quickly—or even over time, you must change internally. Shift your identity. Become someone who has the needle-moving habit. Then, your outer world will change.
Be a person who takes the action you identified—the habitual behavior. That new habit will then lead to the accomplishment, achievement, result, or creation you desire.
Step 3: Maintain Your Habit
Habits are consistent rote behaviors that are hard to give up. That means that if you start habits and then stop them, they aren’t really habits.
Therefore, the key to this step is to develop actual habits—behaviors you do consistently no matter what.
First, to accomplish this, learn to quiet your “habit voice,” as my coach and mentor Jim Fortin calls it. This is the mental chatter that wants you to keep doing what you’ve always done. It is generated by what is known as the “reptilian brain,” which is the oldest part of the brain and controls the body’s vital functions. It’s the part of your brain where habits are developed.
Additionally, the reptilian brain does everything it can to keep you safe. Anything new—even a helpful habit—is seen as threatening your safety. Thus, it will talk up a red streak to try to get you to keep doing what you’ve been doing—even if that behavior doesn’t support your wellbeing and success.
The key here is to learn how to dismiss the habit voice. Yes, it wants to keep you safe, but you need to tell it to take a break from this job. Then put your attention on being the person who has the habit already. Once your brain realizes you are safe, it will quiet down and even support your efforts.
Second, you need to learn how to retain your habit. Yes, being a person who has that habit is enough. But many people fall prey to the habit voice or life happening (external circumstances). As a result, they drop the new identity.
Here are a few ways to stop that from happening.
- Apply consistency and accountability to solidify your habit. You can do this with a habit tracking app or a calendar on which you mark each day you performed the habit.
- Be self-integral. Having self-integrity means keeping your promises to yourself. You have integrity with others and keep your promises to them. Now do the same with yourself. Keep your word, and do what you say you are going to do.
- Align your habits with your values. To develop a habit and keep it going long term, this new behavior must align with your values. If you take on the new behavior because you should, or someone wants you to, it won’t stick. You can’t develop a habit out of obligation. You can create it—and quickly—from what you want and feel is important.
New Habits Lead to Greater Success
I know you have goals and dreams you’d like to accomplish. Yet, that simply won’t happen if your habits don’t change.
You know the adage: Your current level of success is the result of your current habits. If you want a higher level of success, you need new habits.
If you’ve read this far, you know you need a new helpful habit or two. You also know you can create that habit (or habits)—quickly and relatively easily.
But if you’d like to learn more about the process I described above, join me on August 2–4, 2021, for a free 3-day Helpful Habit Creation Challenge. Say goodbye to your unhelpful and unsupportive habits and hello to new, helpful, and supportive ones. Find out more and register here. (Missed the challenge? No worries. Join my new Facebook page, Transform NOW! The replays are there!)
Do you find it easy or challenging to create helpful new habits? Tell me in a comment below. And please share this post with a friend who would benefit from reading it.