“I’m going to start training this month” or “I’m too stuck in my habits to start a new habit” or “I tried that, but I can’t do it anymore”. How many of you find these phrases familiar? Most of you may have uttered something to the same effect or heard people around you do it. The crux of these conversations is habits. There are many myths about habits and they prevent a person from adopting a positive change in life.
It’s important to dispel these myths about habit formation and take a fresh perspective on habit formation. While we do that, let’s also discuss some actionable insights that can be applied when trying to form new habits.
Myth 1: Habits are boring
Most people think that habits are related to structure. People who cannot follow the structure think they will rebel against it. If you look at the most basic things you do, like eating and putting on clothes, they are all habits! If you find your habits boring, it may be because you make them boring. Habits make up our lives. If you want a fun life, maybe add fun to your routine.
Myth 2: I’m too old to start a new habit
There is no age to learn. Yet it’s an excuse used by most adults when it comes to learning something new. This is mostly used as an excuse because some people are afraid to put in effort. Here it is important to understand the benefits that a habit will bring to the person. If a person can see a benefit for himself, it becomes easier for him to form a habit.
Myth 3: I need a reward to form a habit
Creating rewards and punishments for habit formation is not ideal. Daily motivation to form a habit is also not a feasible way to build habits. First, the rewards should be consistent with your goal of creating a habit. It can’t be about “taking a cookie” to end an intense workout. On the other hand, people often resort to punishments like “giving 100 rupees” or whatever if they don’t follow a habit. It is important to understand that as humans we experience pleasure in the present and punishment is deferred to the future. The future is not a problem in the present. This is taken lightly, so motivation, and even more so rewards and punishments, are not a reliable method of forming a habit.
Read also: These 5 daily habits can harm your brain health
Myth 4: I can’t miss a single day
You can’t be too strict and punish yourself for breaking a habit for a day. There can be many reasons why an individual cannot form a habit, maybe they are stressed or not in a good mood. The key is to be compassionate with yourself and not associate habits with punishment. On the other hand, you can follow one of my golden rules for building habits: “Never miss two days in a row.” This way you give yourself space and ensure that you don’t have a significant break in your habit formation.
Myth 5: All successful people share the same habits
This is one of the biggest myths that needs to be busted. People think that if they imitate the habits of successful people, they will achieve the same level of success. One cannot blindly imitate habits. There’s a reason every person follows a habit. A businessman can wake up at 4 a.m. and another sleep at 4 a.m. An athlete will need 12 hours of sleep. They have different reasons why they form a habit. It is not advisable to follow habits without understanding the “why” behind them. Choose habits that fit your life. Start small and create your own journey.
Myth 6: Resolutions are not habits
Resolutions are wishful thinking, without really following a plan to turn them into habits. Those who are successful in their New Year’s resolutions have found a way to turn their resolution into habits. Most resolutions run out of steam in the first half. This is because no effort has been made to create habits.
All in all, habits play a vital role and should be formed based on certain habit forming principles. If you are looking for a positive transformation in your life, adopting positive habits is the only way to achieve it.