Forming New Habits

 How to create a new behaviour or habit, step-by-step.

To form new habits, you have to keep two things in mind:

Process: A person who is successful at what he or she does has a process. These are habits. You’ll notice that people who are healthy have a routine of eating a certain way or exercising at a certain time each day. Writers tend to prefer writing at certain times of the day because they know when they’re creative.

Identity: To become the type of person you want to become you have to believe in your capability, be in alignment with your values and change your habits according to the person you want to be, and not according to a short-term goal you have.

How to Create a New Behaviour or Habit,
Step-by-Step (Behaviour Generator)

Open your mind to a new way of thinking and doing this may feel a little strange, but trust when I say that this process was developed by the founders of NLP by modeling people who were highly effective in learning new things. They found that effective learners had an ability to rehearse something in their mind before actually doing it and these mental rehearsals allowed them to easily install new habits.

This process may not work if you have a mental or emotional block or even a belief that resists this new habit or behaviour you want to implement. Therefore, I suggest using this strategy for making simple changes like waking up earlier, taking your supplements, drinking water, keeping your keys in the same place everyday when you get home or responding to someone effectively.

Read through the process first and then practice. Nothing comes without practice.

1. Identify a behaviour you want to change or a new habit you’d like to install.

2. Watch a mental movie of what you’re doing now. Notice how you typically behave in that situation.

3. Identify what you want instead. Create a clear picture of what you want by:

  1. Finding a role model
  2. Remembering a time in your past that you were doing this behaviour
  3. Find a counter-example, which is another context where you are doing something similar
  4. Making it up

4. Watch a movie of you doing this new behaviour.

5. Now, step into the movie and be in it and experience it as if you were actually doing it. Move your body, say things to yourself and get into the act of doing the behaviour.

6. As you fully experience this, identify an external trigger or cue for the behaviour. For example, making my smoothie in the morning, my external trigger was taking a shower. This trigger of getting ready to take shower reminded me that I had to make a smoothie and keep it next to my purse so I could take it on my way out. I knew that after my shower I’d get ready and head out and may forget to make my smoothie because I was so used to going to this coffee franchise.

7. Imagine doing this new habit in the future. For example, think about how you’ll do it tomorrow and the next week. Think of the external trigger that will remind you to automatically use the new behaviour. Now imagine that external trigger and feel yourself using this new behaviour in that situation.