Developing long-lasting positive habits
As part of developing positive habits, this week, I posted an upbeat good morning post for #elevensestime, and I received the following response on Twitter:
“Always so happy. What is your secret?!”
Wow, what a lovely comment, I thought and gave myself a little pat on the back for all the positive habits I live by.
I have reflected and decided to share more in this blog, as building positive habits and learning to change are essential to positive habits.
As usual, I will include references if you want to delve deeper.
I have advocated Abraham Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs (1943, 1954) for many years, something I discovered when studying for my Higher Degrees. From day one, this spoke to me in a way that resulted in adopting this motivational theory in psychology, which is now crucial to my work.
Having a sense of belonging is critical to building good habits. You feel loved, lose weight or maybe start exercising. This doesn’t happen in 15 minutes but is a long-term approach to forming a new habit.
But, of course, this is one of many theoretical viewpoints, and our inquisitive nature should not stop at only one way of thinking. I found many more during my last 30 years of self-development and will continue for many years. Good habits are formed during our journey and adapted as we grow.
Developing long-lasting positive habits – Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs is a theory of human motivation in psychology comprising a five-tier model of human needs.
Often depicted as hierarchical levels within a pyramid. From the bottom of the hierarchy upwards, the requirements are:
- physiological (food and clothing),
- safety (job security),
- love and belonging needs (friendship),
- esteem, and
Needs lower down in the hierarchy must be satisfied before individuals can attend to higher needs. (https://www.simplypsychology.org/maslow.html)
If you investigate it more profoundly, you will agree that the rest will not happen without a strong foundation. It is very similar to many things in life. Let us say you want to build a house.
Would you do it on sand?
No, you would put the most appropriate strong foundation to it first!
When reflecting upon the year gone at the beginning of every year, most people try to change their habits by setting New Year’s resolutions. However, Strava carried out a study in 2018 which suggests that the second Friday of the year is the fateful day for giving up on New Year’s resolutions (https://bestlifeonline.com/new-years-resolutions-ditch-date/ ).
For many years, we have heard about New Year’s resolutions; many believe in them, and others are sceptical about them.
Who’s right and who’s wrong? I don’t make them. So why wait until the new year to resolve this? The change should happen naturally.
Firstly, where are we with positive habits?
Let us look at science. These days, we have science for everything and anything, so we may just as well use it. For example, in 1960, Dr Maxell Maltz published a psycho-cybernetic book, which became a hit and sold more than 30 million copies.
He published a quote based on his and his client’s behaviour: “These, and many other commonly observed phenomena, tend to show that it requires a minimum of about 21 days for an old mental image to dissolve and a new one to jell.” Since then, other research has been carried out, which suggests we need about 12 weeks to form a long-lasting habit.
Dr Nora Volkow, director of the NIH’s National Institute on Drug Abuse, suggest it takes between 18 and 254 days to form and stick to it (https://www.healthline.com/health/how-long-does-it-take-to-form-a-habit#tips-and-tricks ).
So, 21 days is a widespread answer to this; however, many have ignored a word when reading Maltz’s work, and I quote ‘minimum!’
In my view and experience, it does not matter how long it takes anyone to do anything. I start seeing the best results with my clients around 66 days into my programmes. But, as previously mentioned in other blogs http://ericcouturiercoaching.com/news/, we are all different, and one doesn’t fit all. I think this is where science falls short.
Whatever you set out to do, you need to work at it for how long it takes, and that’s key, working at it! Things will happen when you are long enough out of your comfort zone, spending days to form a new habit.
Why are most people giving up on their resolutions so quickly? Indeed, they set them for a purpose.
Again – Developing long-lasting positive habits.
There is plenty of information, some of which could be somewhat conflicting.
Psychotherapist Jonathan Alpert told Business Insider three of the biggest reasons our New Year’s resolutions fail. I would echo, are as follows:
- First, your resolution isn’t specific enough.
- Second, you aren’t framing them positively.
- Third, your key isn’t about you.
I am sure some of you can relate to this; more on https://www.businessinsider.com/new-years-resolutions-failure-advice-jonathan-alpert-2018-12.
Following on from the science, I truly believe in common sense, something I feel is disappearing somehow. I know this can get controversial with many people, especially when looking at different generations and how we are now interacting with each other and managing our lives.
We seem to spend significant time connected and on social media. Therefore, it can be argued that creating bad habits instead of focusing on the here and now is a good idea. Yes, we need to evolve; however, habit formation that way is detrimental to motivation and personality.
We are more and more connected and surrounded by data.
When looking online, you can find an answer for everything from anyone. Sometimes, it is not backed by anything and can be identified as “fake”, as one would say, which can be detrimental to forming a lasting good habit.
One day, you read one thing, and the next, something completely different on the same subject of diets. The same applies to exercise, dog training, etc.
We need to remember that one does not fit all as we are individuals. In addition, trends come and go, yet forming good habits is here to stay, giving enough time and not jumping from one to another.
I encourage you and want to hear about your experiences and results.
Let’s discuss the habits you want to change for the better. Book your Free 45-minute Discovery call with me today to develop long-lasting positive habits.