Research tells us two important things. Firstly, the more complex the habit is, the longer and harder it is to form – it takes more than 21 days. Secondly, bad habits have a competitive neuroplastic advantage in the brain. In other words, sometimes we need to unlearn something before we can ‘re-learn’ or ‘re-wire’ to improve or create healthier habits. So we need to be aware and patient.
Making a resolution that you want to eat better, or get to the gym regularly are actually very complex processes. You must respect that.
2. What are some ways a person can increase the likelihood of keeping a new habit?
1) Keep in mind the above. Anticipate that it’s tough. Give yourself at least 3 months. Know this going in.
2) Work with a coach, mentor or therapist to keep up motivation and to have accountability and general support.
3) Know that your motivation and willpower will fluctuate. Formulate coping strategies from the get-go.
3. Top 3 ways of forming a new habit?
1) Always be clear on your primary motivator; stay in touch with the primary motivator. Most people get seduced by the secondary factor. For example, if you want to make more money, remember it’s not the money, it’s about your sense of security. We are basically or primarily motivated to be loved and to feel secure secure; looking good and losing weight serves to increase the chance that you will be loved by a potential mate.
2) Persistence, persistence and persistence.
3) Get more support than you think you will need. Work with a coach or in a group with peers.
4) Never hesitate to ask for help – it’s a sign of strength. Just the act of asking can serve to strengthen.
*This post is written by Tina Chadda, MD, founder of Akasha Meditation, a new evidence-based wholehearted living app for those seeking alternative methods to meditation, mindfulness and personal development.
How do you keep your New Years Resolutions? Let me know in the comments! I love hearing from you!