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Change Your Life: 5 Steps to Creating Positive Habits

May 21, 2012 in Business, Leadership, Motivation, Personal Growth, Successful Living

As mentioned in the last blog post two weeks ago, if you are seeking to lead a positive and successful life - whatever that may mean for you, you have to make it a mission to understand how your habits are either helping or sabotaging  you. Once you have gained that level of awareness, it's time to set your intention to start developing new habits that will help you achieve your life's goals or change your life completely. In this post, I'm going to break down the process of habit formation to help you understand how you can create positive habits.

We all go through this process of creating new habits at an early age for many of the tasks we perform on a daily basis. Some of those tasks include: standing up, walking, talking, etc... We have committed the mechanical know-hows to our subconscious mind and over time have developed the belief system we need to be able to perform those tasks and many other ones mindlessly.

A perfect example of this is learning to open a door.  You no longer have to think about nor struggle with opening a door. You also don't have to wonder what you need to do first or whether the door will open at all. You know it will open.  You learned and struggled with this once as a child growing up and have done it so many times after that it's become a habit.  All you have to do now is give physical self the order to open the door and you unconsciously (mindlessly) take all the steps necessary to open the door.

To succeed in any other endeavor, you need to apply this same process and effort to create positive habits.  Below are 5 steps that will help you with the creation of any habit.

1. Awareness

Change starts with awareness. And if you're ever going to succeed at making changes in your life, you have to know that YOU need to make a change. You have to know what to want for you to desire it.

2. Desire

Desire will drive you to see the change through. The desire you have to be a better version of yourself or to see the positive outcome that the new habit will yield is what's going to keep pushing you onward when things seems to get tough. This is certainly true when the results you seek doesn't come right away. This is a failure point for most people. Usually, the desire is not strong enough and so they give up half-way or just before they've committed this new task to their subconscious to allow it to work to their advantage.

Get emotional about the results. Paint a picture of your future as a result of the things this new habit can help you to achieve. If you're not willing to get emotional about it, you can stop reading now because all you have is a wish and the remaining steps will not help you.

3. Learning

I was tempted to leave this step out but it is necessary to the process. My temptation was purely out of concerns that you may get stuck in this phase that you never take action.  I don't believe your getting stuck is because you want to, but that society has taught us that taking action without knowing, in advance, every sequential detailed step is a risk. I say, once you've learned what the first step is, take action.  And in doing so, you will have a clearer picture of what the next step should be. The first step will expand your horizon and encourages you to take the next.

Suspend the requirement of knowing how and dive in. The only way you learn to swim is by getting in the water.

The utility of knowledge rests only in its application.

4. Action

You have to take action. You don't create a habit by meditating and contemplating the habit. You have to do something. It's the only way.

5. Repetition

The final and key ingredient to habit formation is repetition. If you're learning how to do something and you find it hard, keep on doing it. In the words of Thomas Fuller, “All things are difficult before they are easy”. When it's become easy, it's becomes a habit. You performed the task so many times until it becomes second nature to you. Your subconscious mind will have taken control of the mechanical know-hows and all you have to do in the future is give yourself the command to execute.

You can draw upon this process to create and develop new habits and beliefs system around the things you want to achieve in life.  To commit any task to your subconscious and create positive habits, keep repeating the action over and over.  Your physical being will submit to the authority of your subconscious mind and this will help you create the life you've dreamed of through your habits. The key point not to miss here is that you have to be intentional in creating habits that will serve you.

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