gewoontes

If we want to change something about ourselves, we still rely on willpower and perseverance. That is precisely why we fail so often.

In the book “Happy with habits” (2019), published by HarperCollins, Wendy Wood states that your subconscious determines almost half of your behavior. Yet you can teach yourself new habits and thereby create a more enjoyable life.

Context, repetition and reward are important for creating these new habits.

Context

Context refers to everything in the world around you: everything but yourself. It is the location where you are, it is the people around you, it is the time of day and it is the actions that you have just done. Your mobile phone is also a context that lies outside of you. The context is the external forces that drive or inhibit our actions. Inhibiting forces are a form of friction that prevents action.

Instead of blaming yourself if you don’t have the willpower to make yourself healthier, richer or wiser, forgive yourself. It makes it easier to adjust the context in which you live.
It doesn’t make sense to develop a habit by defying resistance. Remove the friction and find out what the driving forces are.

Repeat

Repetition is the magic ground on which you build habits, a way to ensure rapid growth.
The second time you do something it requires less time and mental effort than the first. The third time less than the second. And so on.

Reward

If “something” feels good enough, then it is really worth the effort it initially takes. When creating new habits, rewards must be greater and better than what you normally experience. That takes some planning and creativity, but is possible. 

Conclusion: what you need for a new habit is: reward yourself, keep repeating and forgive yourself if it doesn’t work out. 

When do you start with new habits? 

Tags: habits
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Ard Van Oosten

I am a psychiatrist trained in business management and researcher. My heart goes out to talent development. I connect knowledge of the brain with leadership and offer tools for personal growth and development.

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