Your daily habits are contributing to your stress!
- Small changes are easier to accomplish than massive action.
- Being mindful of these small changes will make them permanent.
- Small changes in our daily habits will make a huge difference.
- Essentially, we become our habits.
Habits form over time based on our routines, life’s requirements, and responsibilities. One day we “come to” and realize that our habits could be limiting our ability to live the life we want to live. If this is you, then congrats! The first step to making a change is realizing that this.
The Why: It’s hard to break habits sometimes but know THIS: there are steps we can take to make the process manageable and painless. It is a conscious choice, and the idea is to make tiny changes every day. Making a change that is a 1% improvement every day over a year’s time will make us 37% better!
“Atomic Habits are little habits that are part of a larger system. Just as atoms are the building blocks of molecules, atomic habits are the building blocks of remarkable results,” explains James Clear, author of Atomic Habits and an authority on building better habits. “Making a choice that is 1 percent better or 1 percent worse seems insignificant at the moment, but over the span of moments that make up a lifetime these choices determine the difference between who you are and who you could be. Habits are like the atoms of our lives. Each one is a fundamental unit that contributes to your overall improvement.”
In our society, it’s a common misconception that massive success requires massive action. This is not the case. The power of making small, 1% improvements are manageable, and the changes build upon one another. Regardless of your goal, to diminish stress, to relieve or eliminate your pain, to lose weight, to run a marathon, making the incremental changes will take you where you want to go.
Since you’ve taken the first step and acknowledged that a change needs to be made, you’re ahead of the pack. You have the choice to make the changes in your life to become the person you want to be. When we take notice of limiting habits and set out to change them, we first need to take stock of behaviors. Without determining who you want to become is like a boat without a sail, the destination is unclear but you’re on the water. James Clear describes our habits as “your repeated beingness. Ultimately, your habits matter because they help you become the type of person you wish to be. They are the channel through which you develop your deepest beliefs about yourself. Quite literally, you become your habits.”
There are 4 laws of behavior change that we need to be aware of because they will influence your results. James Clear’s 4 laws of Behavior Change is intended to build upon Charles Duhigg’s model from The Power of Habit which you can learn more about here (link). The laws are Cue, Craving, Response, and Reward. “In summary, the cue triggers a craving, which motivates a response, which provides a reward, which satisfies the craving, and ultimately, becomes associated with the cue,” explains Clear.
Let’s look at this in the context of building a habit and using our stress and pain-relieving device, MyRelaxer.
The first Law, the Cue, is to make it obvious. When making this plan, the when and where are especially important. You might say, “I will use MyRelaxer first thing in the morning in the bathroom.” You could place your MyRelaxer in the cup that holds your toothbrush. That’s the obvious part. The Cue will trigger a craving.
Law 2, the Craving, is to make it attractive. Think of the research you’ve read that describes the benefits you want-reduced stress, reduced headache, or orofacial pain for example. You could pair using MyRelaxer with another activity such as meditation with the guided meditations in the Toolkit or in the shower while thinking about your day. The craving will motivate a response.
The third law, the Response, is to make it easy. The simplest way to make it easy is to “downscale your habits until they can be done in three minutes or less.” Going back to the idea of atomic habits, quick 1% improvements will add up to big changes and take 2 to 5 min after you wake up to solidify your new habit. The response will elicit a reward.
The last Law, the Reward, is to make it satisfying. Give yourself an immediate reward after doing your new habit. It could be reflecting on your new, improved morning process or the lack of tension/stress over a rejuvenating cup of coffee. You did it! Celebrate the small things in life because there are so many more of them.
You’ve noticed some limiting habits in your life that need changing.
You’ve acknowledged that only you are able and responsible for making the necessary changes. You’ve established the kind of person you want to be.
Where do you go from here?