Wednesday, 19 February 2014

Good Habits

If I asked you to tell me about your habits, how would you respond?  Would you talk about smoking, drinking too much, snacking between meals?  Or would you refer to your daily practice of yoga, meditation, or affirmations?

Most people think of habits as something bad, and it is true most of us probably do have bad habits.  But the reality is that we also have lots of good habits.  And we can create more good habits if we really want to do so.

If you want to change something in your life, the way to do so is to create a new habit.  If you are afflicted or know someone with the smoking habit, or even addicted to hard drugs, you will know just how powerful a habit can be.  So use that power!  Decide what it is you want to change, work out what you need to do that is different in order to effect that change, then establish it as a habit.

I have already mentioned three great habits from which we could all benefit and which will have a fundamental affect on our lives if we make them an integral part of our life - yoga, meditation and affirmations.  Maybe you will choose to establish one or more of these as a habit.  Or maybe you will find something different - something that resonates with you and that you know you would really love to make it a part of your life.  Take your time and make sure you have found something really good - something that can really be "you".

Having found what it is you want to do, the next step is to make it a habit.  How exactly can you do this?

In his classic book "Psycho Cybernetics", Maxwell Maltz informs us that the same action repeated regularly 21 times becomes a habit. This could be something you will do every day, in which case in three weeks you will have established it as a habit.  Maybe it is something you will do every working day, in which case your habit will be established in a month.  Or perhaps you will do it once a week, in which case you will have a new positive habit in around five months.

In your first 21 repetitions be absolutely ruthless.  No matter what happens, tell yourself you MUST perform this action.  No excuses accepted.  Certainly do not fall into the trap of telling yourself it is ok to miss it one time and then do double (e.g. spend twice as much time) the next time.  If you do this you will be setting yourself up to fail.

But if something DOES happen which makes it impossible for you to do it, don't stress out.  This is another reason so many people fail, as they falter at the first hurdle.  Accept the situation, and just move on.  You have missed one repetition, so it just means it will take you slightly longer, that is all.  Don't let it happen too often, but also don't let it de-rail your plan to establish this good habit.

Once you have the 21 repetitions under your belt you have established your good habit.  You now do not have to be quite so ruthless.  If there is a good reason for missing one day (or one weekend, or one month, etc) then you can relax and accept that reason - because now you know that it is a habit, and the next time around you will still automatically be ready to do it.  Keep an eye on it, as habits can still be broken, but it should certainly no longer be the struggle you probably found it took in the first 21 repetitions.

Also, once you have established your new habit, look for another one.  Maybe you would like to learn a new language for example, or develop some other skill.  Make this the next good habit you will establish.  Not by replacing the first one, but by adding to it.  Keep doing this.  As each new skill, personality change, good practice etc becomes a habit for you, add another one.  Do this until you have established 21 new habits.  Why 21?  Because now you have established a habit of creating success habits - and you will have become unstoppable!

If you would like a copy of the book "Psycho Cybernetics" you can obtain one here:


  1. Never too late to create a new hope and expect any good things.

  2. Thank you so much for this article, it is really useful......

  3. A great inspiration to start anyday!

  4. I read this article very early in the morning and I feel I have started on a good note. I am learning a new habit of blogging every day. It is a challenge but I am trying very hard to achieve my goal and this article "hit the nail on the head in other words it will help me to realize my goal..