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The 5 Steps To Change Your Habits Permanently!

steps to change habits permanently

I have always thought that the way to achieve any goal is like climbing a mountain. To get to the top, the climbers don’t do it all at once; they have to stop. They make several stops, and they enjoy the road, crossing bridges, feeling the fresh air, and contemplating the beautiful landscape.

Those who dare to climb require several tools, but the most important tool is to make up our minds to take the first step and get to the top. And you, are you ready to take the first step and improve your life?

The path to reach the highest peak of the mountain is not easy, but reaching the goal is definitely possible.  The same goes for the process of changing habits. Taking the first step is what you need to make a significant change in your lifeYou have to find steps to change habits permanently.

But first, you must start by changing your mind in these two stages:

1.- Improve your image of yourself

Believe it or not, the image that people have of themselves and the habits they have created are closely related to each other. So when changing the image, it is obvious that the habits will also do it.

Habits are like the clothes we wear to dress: we have them because they dress our personality and participate in our self-image.

When we consciously and deliberately decide to start incorporating new and better habits,  our self-image abandons old habits and transforms the personality. That is why it is essential to incorporate new habits from a unique personal image.

Believe in yourself, improve the perception you have about yourself. Visualize the person you want to become, Driveaway the thoughts of failure, and declare that YOU CAN MAKE A BIG CHANGE.

I love myself

2.- Think optimistic (but realistic)

Thoughts have a lot of power in the unconscious, which directs most of our actions. The secret is to change your perspective of the action to be taken.

When a positive event is about to occur in your life, such as taking a flight to your most anticipated vacation, the mind is so powerful that it can make you wake up before the alarm goes off on the day of that flight. Therefore, it is necessary to think optimistic ( again but realistic) for our minds to give us that motivational boost.

Now, if you are ready to start a significant change in your life, enjoy the journey. Here are the steps to change habits permanently:

The 6 steps to change habits permanently

Usually, when you start something new, you do not know where to start. You can generally do things you want to do and things you have to do. It is important to start there: in the things that you have to do.

These steps are a guide to what you have to do to change your habits.  

Step 1: Identify what you want to change in your routine

Take a look at the world around you and change what you don’t like.

Recognizing what habits are hurting me to start changing. The best way to realize what habits you want to change is by writing them on paper (or digital), it is a way that you do not forget them and that you also visualize physically outside of your head.

Take a few days ( I recommend a week) to write those actions or attitudes that you consider you want to change. The purpose of the list is to do a global analysis.

Surely you have more than two things that you want to change, and then you have a long list. The problem with long lists is that they are NEVER DONE, they are like mazes of stress, and you don’t get anywhere with them.

How To Find My Routine

So divide your list into several small lists. For example, take the list of 20 things to change and divide it into four lists of 5 things to change. Yes, it is true that you have the same volume, but starting with a small list motivates you because you will see much more progress. 

If you already have that shortlist, change the sentences into purpose form (writing what you want to achieve) and present tense.

Why?

Because it is a strategy to take action in the present, the future is uncertain, but today we have total control to act. For example:

  • ” I drink more soda than water”  -> ” Today I drink enough water.”
  • “I don’t do any exercise” -> “Today; I start exercising.”
  • “I go to the office without breakfast” -> “Today I have a healthy breakfast before leaving”

Here is my small list as an example:

Separate or underline with a color the habits to change that has to do with hydration, nutrition, and exercise (in my list, I put them in bold to make it visible).

For now, I will be focusing only on eating habits and the beginning of the exercise. But remember that the method of replacing an unhealthy habit with a good one is the same for any type of habit.

The list you just made includes all those habits that you want to change, so now they are goals. 

Step 2: Make your goals ULTRA-SPECIFIC

small goals

The more the obstacles are divided, the easier to overcome

Up to this point, we have a shortlist of purposes (goals). Now, take just one goal from your list that you want to start with.

Try to see that goal as a path in which to get there, you need short achievable goals;  that is, turn each step into a goal.

Why set many goals instead of one big one?

Because it is much easier to achieve a small goal than a big one, in fact, a well-planned goal is the halfway point.

How can I split the goal?

Very easy, make your goal ultra-specific.

When the goals to be achieved are ULTRA-GENERAL instead of being ULTRA-SPECIFIC, it costs much more to achieve the objective.

And what happens if the goal is not reached? … we feel a defeat (even if we make progress), and we give up on continuing.

That is why it is so vital to be ULTRA SPECIFIC with your goals.

For example:

  • “Today, I drink enough water.”
  • “Today, I start exercising.”
  • “Today, I have a healthy breakfast.”

They are excellent goals, but they ARE NOT SPECIFIC, we must go deeper still:

  • “Every two hours, I drink a glass of water.”
  • “Every day, I wake up 15 minutes before to go for a run 10 minutes.”
  • “Before leaving home, I am going to eat an apple.”

These goals are ULTRA-SPECIFIC, and the best thing is that they are REACHABLE.

It’s up to you to make the list of habits you made in the previous step, break it into smaller ULTRA-SPECIFIC goals. Make your goals easy.

If you don’t know-how, these questions can help you:

  1. What specific and simple part can I start doing right now?
  2. What action would be easier for me to start with?
  3. At what time of day (time) will I be performing this action?

In this way, in addition to making your goal more achievable, you are giving a solution proposal to achieve the change of habit.

Remember that the ultra-specific goal must be achievable for you. It is too easy to do. It does not matter that it is a small advance because it is the beginning to take the second step. Make it so easy that you can’t say no.

Easy goals do not depend on your daily motivation, nor do they require significant effort.

For example: instead of starting with 30 minutes of running, start with just 10 minutes of walking or light jogging. Then, once the action is established, you can build up little by little.

How many goals on my list should I start with?

Every person is different, but I advise you to start with one goal at a time. This way, you will have much more concentration to achieve it.

When you master it or the effort to carry it out diminishes, it is time to propose a second ultra-specific goal.

Step 3: Create an action planAction plan

A goal without a plan is just a wish!

Up to this point, we have ultra-specific goals, which were written by answering the questions in step 2.

Each person is different and has different routines, therefore I cannot give you the solution to your problem, but I can help you design an action plan to solve the problem.

  • What is the problem? That action (habit) that I want to change in my life
  • What is the solution? Make a change proposal.
  • How?…

Easy! Just design your action plan make your own strategy to achieve that goal.

If you set yourself these ultra-specific goals, they are already proposed solutions to your problem. But it’s not enough.  

Now we have to create a plan to achieve the action we set out to do.

For example:

  • Goal: “Every six hours, I drink a glass of water.”
  • Action plan:   I will have a bottle at my fingertips to drink water.”
  • Goal: “Every day, I wake up 15 minutes before to go for a run for 10 minutes.”
  • Action plan: “I prepare my sports clothes the night before to go for a run for 10 minutes in the morning.”
  • Goal: “Before leaving home, I am going to eat an apple.”
  • Action plan: “The fruit is ready to be eaten in a container in the fridge.”

And so on for all your ultra-specific goals.

If you notice that to design the action plan, you only need CREATIVITY, we often have a lot of imagination to make excuses. In that case, we are also to achieve the goal.

Think of the way you can go to reach your goal.

I recommend that you start with a single action plan for a single habit and then increase the intensity or number of habits.

Step 4: Choose a reminder

 Make sure you make your goals visible.

In your daily life, you are already repeating many habits (good or bad), the point is that this action is preceded by a reminder, which can be an image, a sound, an object, etc.

For example:

  •  Action out of habit:  Before leaving home, I turn off the lights

What reminds me of doing this?

  •  Take the house keys.

Another example:

  •  Action out of habit: Like chocolate in the office

What reminds me of doing this?

  • See the chocolates on my desk.

So for every action, there is something that triggers it. We use this same principle to incorporate a new activity into your life.

The reminder is essential to create new habits. If you have an effective reminder, you will be able to establish a new habit in your routine more easily because there will be no way to forget it.

How do I choose a reminder for my ultra-specific goals?

Reminders can be actions that you’re already doing out of habit or anything else that visually reminds you to carry out your action plan.

Do you remember the previous examples?

  • Goal: “Every four hours, I drink a glass of water.”
  • Action plan:   I will have a bottle at my fingertips to have a simple glass of water.”
  • Reminder: “I will set the alarm on the mobile every four hours.”
  • Goal: “Every day, I wake up 15 minutes before to go for a run for 10 minutes.”
  • Action plan: “I prepare my sports clothes the night before to go for a run for 10 minutes in the morning.”
  • Reminder: “I leave my things ready at the door of the room so that I can not leave without seeing them.”
  • Goal: “Before leaving home, I will eat an apple.”
  • Action plan: “The fruit will be ready to be eaten in a container in the fridge.”
  • Reminder: “I’ll put a note on the bathroom mirror to make the shake before I go out.”

The main objective of this step is to create an EFFECTIVE reminder so that you can perform the action and reach the goal more efficiently.

Step 5: celebrate your progress

People achieved success

Our reward is in the effort and not in the result

Now you know the steps to do the complete process:

  1. Remember
  2. Carry out the action plan
  3. Meet the ultra-specific goal EVERY DAY
  4. Something is missing here, don’t you think? … 

Celebrate your progress!

When you correctly carry out your daily activities, immediately dedicate applause, a smile, or a few words to yourself.

Although it may not seem like it is important, you need a positive reward to do it again. This increases your self-confidence and keeps you motivated to remain consistent.

Some actions generate a positive reward by themselves, any healthy habit has it. However, why not choose an effective reward?

For example:

“My reward for going for a run will be a refreshing shower

At the end of the exercise, we feel exhausted, and at first, it seems that it is not a positive reward (although in the short and long term, exercise has incredible benefits). One way to reward yourself for the effort is to take a shower, that refreshing feeling will surely give you a good reward after exercise.

It is important to know that the rewards are consistent with the goal to be met.

Do not forget why you set out to improve your habits. If the main reason was to improve your health, the reward could not be something that is contradictory, like eating a pack of chocolate chip cookies after running.

If you want improment, you can use these steps to change habits permanently,  just put the 5 steps into practice and start changing your old habits for healthier ones!

And remember that very contrary to what you have been told or have thought, changing your habits is possible, you only need to put the correct strategies into practice. that’s what we believe here in Mindsetopia!

And you, what habits are you going to start changing today? Write your answer in the comments below.

Written by Saeid Ahmadi

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