Photo by Hannah Olinger
Habits are established through repetition of a behavior every day until that behavior becomes almost automatic. Frequency of the behavior is a key component to habit formation. A new habit will form faster when the behavior is performed every single day as opposed to a few times a week. This is one of the reasons that you should start small when it comes to habit change.
Focusing on one habit at a time will improve your chances of following through with the frequency of the habit you are trying to form. You will attain your goal of making the behavior a habit faster, if the behavior is repeated daily. An example of attempting too much change at once, making it harder to change at all, might be; you try to start exercising daily, stop biting your nails and cut out sugar.
The chances that you will be able to do all of these new behaviors as frequently as everyday decreases, and so does the chance that you will follow through and succeed in making them a habit. Instead, it’s more effective to focus on one new habit at a time. Once you have decided which one behavior you want to start with, it’s important that you perform the habit every day. Putting some reminders to use will help you follow through as well. You can write notes to yourself and put them in places that will help you stay on track. You can enlist the help of friends or family to help support you or even set an alarm on your phone.
Whatever it takes to perform the behavior as frequently as every day. This will help embed the behavior in your brain and ensure that it becomes a habit as fast as possible. Even after doing something every day, forming a new habit can take as long as 3 weeks. So try to stay patient and on track with your goal. If you are able to continue the behavior past the 3 month mark, it becomes more likely the habit will become a lifestyle. Remember, we all have setbacks here and there. When that happens, get right back up and start again the next day. Don’t be too hard on yourself. Just keep reaching for your goal of everyday frequency and eventually, the behavior will become a habit, possibly even a lifestyle.