The secret of change: the generation of new habits
The new school year arrives, we started a new job, we decided to start a healthier life by going to the gym ... All these situations are very common for most people, and as one of the great Greek philosophers called Heraclitus said: "Everything flows; Everything changes; Nothing remains. "Day by day we are faced with decisions that can change the meaning and direction of our lives and only our motivation towards them can make us follow them.
One of the keys to reach the goals that we set is the generation of new habits . Creating routines that facilitate and guide us along the path that reaches our destination is fundamental. Thanks to these habits we develop new neural circuits and behavioral patterns that, if well-consolidated, will accompany us the rest of our lives.
Learning a new habit not only depends on the repetition of it, but it is very related to the individual ability to know how to manage our emotions. Today, talking about emotional intelligence is nothing new, but there is a term known as delay of gratification that can go unnoticed.
When we decide to get involved and commit ourselves to carrying out a task, we set in motion various mechanisms, among which is emotional control.
- Related article: "Personal Development: 5 reasons for self-reflection"
An example: the delay of gratification
Various studies, such as the popular Marshmallow Test, have shown that those people who are able to delay their rewards over time get benefits in different facets of his life. Some of these experiments were taken as a sample to children in childhood who were left in a room with a very appetizing treat and they were proposed that if they did not eat it they could obtain a larger number at the return of the experimenter.
The results of these tests were that those who waited the longest, when they were re-evaluated as adolescents and adults, demonstrated a remarkable series of advantages with respect to their peers.
As adolescents, they had higher scores in social competence, self-confidence and higher self-esteem, and were rated by their parents as more mature, more able to cope with stress, more likely to plan for the future, and more rational. As adults, they were less likely to have problems with drugs or other addictive behaviors, get divorced, or become overweight.
Adopt new habits
Beyond knowing how to control our desires for reward, There are some keys that can help us introduce new habits in our lives .
1. The 21 day rule
One of the pioneers in talking about the 21 day rule for the creation of new habits It was Dr. Maxwell Maltz. Recognized surgeon, he realized that in cases such as aesthetic operations or amputation of limbs, people took 21 days to generate a new mental image of themselves.
Thanks to these discoveries, we take as reference this temporary period for the consolidation of new habits, that is, it is necessary to repeat the new behaviors for 21 days to be automated and consolidated.
2. Associate it to our value chain
If the new habit that we want to include in our day to day life is very closely related to our values and / or principles, it will have an extra importance that will encourage its realization. This can be explained through its connection with our intrinsic motivation , our wanting to do something proactively.
- Maybe you're interested: "Intrinsic motivation: what is it and how to promote it?"
3. Meditation can help us
One of the forms of learning that human beings have is visualization. It consists of imagining us performing the tasks or objectives to be achieved. Through this process, our mind is acquiring some of the necessary skills and it can be a great support to the physical realization of them.
On the other hand, techniques such as meditation can encourage the development and consolidation of new habits. It has been proven that through them there are significant changes in the brain structure related to well-being and happiness.
4. Perseverance and commitment
Both are fundamental to achieve a new habit.
At the beginning it can be complicated, for this you can manage your attention and focus on the benefits you will obtain in the medium-long term . It is important that the new habits you pose are affordable, positive and can measure your progress towards them.
We learn something new every day, it is not a matter of unlearning those routines that bother us or that we want to change, but of considering other alternatives that promote our personal development and provide us with well-being.
In UPAD Psychology and Coaching we help people in the generation and acquisition of new habits that will allow the client to reach their goals obtaining high levels of satisfaction and well-being.