Building Routines That Change Behavior
The power of a good routine to promote progress in our life is unmatched by much. When it comes to reaching goals and crossing the finish line, it’s not what we do from time to time that matters, it’s what we do consistently and persistently that gets us there.
Making the right decision day after day, over and over again can be difficult especially when it’s contrary to our conditioned way of behaving. Our habitual behaviors are the result of triggers, impulses and urges arising from the subconscious mind. Even seemingly conscious behaviors, like a decision to drink a cup of coffee after every meal, can be the result of habituated patterns of behavior. When the certain stimuli triggers a tendency towards a certain behavior, it shows up as a desire or urge, pulling us toward our conditioned response. Any attempt to eliminate this urge and neutralize the habit will be met with strong resistance. Laying the foundation for new habits to take hold takes a level of consciousness and consistency that can initially feel overwhelming and exhausting. But there’s a way to make things easier.
One way to ease ourselves into new behaviors is to build routines around them. This can be a powerful way to link new behaviors with current behaviors in a way that makes the new behavior easier to execute. In the same way finishing a meal cues up a desire for coffee, as in the example above, we can link a number of behaviors together so that the completion of one cues up the urge to perform the next part of the routine. Creating a good, personalized routine – one that considers our goals, takes advantage of our strengths and builds itself around our willpower and true ability to follow through – can make life easier and much more productive at the same time.
So let’s say you love the idea of running in the morning but have a hard time getting out of bed. You could create a routine that looks something like this: wake up, brew coffee, put on workout clothes, drink coffee, go for a run. This is just an example, but hypothetically speaking, the idea of drinking a nice cup of freshly brewed coffee might make getting out of bed easier. As well your mood towards going for a run might be drastically better after a cup of hot coffee. In this scenario, each part of the routine is designed to make another part of the routine easier to execute. Maybe this routine works for you, maybe it doesn’t, but that’s the point of a personalized routine – it’s not one size fits all. When you get it right, though, it can be a pretty powerful technique that makes adopting new behaviors an easier process.
Earlier this year I offered a program to my Habit Bliss family of subscribers around building morning routines. In the program, I discussed how to create the perfect personalized morning routine based on goals as well as current levels of discipline and desire. The response was overwhelming! Many subscribers said they were happy to have an easy to follow guide that took all the guesswork out of creating effective routines that work as well as learning how to turn these new behaviors into habits. Because of the excellent feedback the program received, I’ve decided to make this content available to everyone in the near future. I’m currently working behind the scenes on some updates, and I’ll let you know more about what to expect and release date information soon!
It all starts and stops with our daily behavior. What we do consistently is who we are and who we become. Strategically developing routines in our life can make the habit development process a little smoother. Routines carry built-in leverage that makes completing tasks within them easier than it would otherwise be. It’s the perfect way to introduce new habits into our life.