The Science of Building New Habits (And Making them Stick)
During these uncertain times, many of us are reflecting on ways we want to improve our lives. Whether it's losing weight, starting a new business, or making more money, change requires building new habits.
However, making habits stick isn’t easy. If they were, then 80% of people wouldn’t break their New Year’s resolutions.
Do you know the real reason why most resolutions fail? It’s because many people look at resolutions like a wish list, believing that this one thing is going to magically transform their lives. But people with this mentality are missing the point.
Lasting change requires re-examining your beliefs. And here’s why: if your resolutions don’t align with your beliefs, you won’t be motivated to follow through. You have to truly believe this change is important in order to make it happen. This will enable you to stay consistent in your efforts and committed when times are tough.
Here are four steps to build habits and implement positive, lasting change in your life:
- Have a vision
Who do you want to become? What does your new life look like? Most importantly, why is this important to you? Your vision should energize and excite you.
When you have strong beliefs, you won’t let the fear win. Your desire will be so powerful that it becomes easier to move past the self-doubt and stay on track with your goals.
- Set an intention
This ties into having a vision, but going one step further. Once you’ve painted the picture of your ideal life, what habits will you need to change in order to make this dream a reality? By coming up with a vision and cultivating a positive attitude, positive behavior will follow.
For example, if you believe “I can’t start a new business,” and “I’m afraid to quit my job” then your brain will find ways to reinforce those beliefs.
Try changing your thoughts to something like, “I want to contribute to the world in a more meaningful way. I want to educate and inspire others with my work.” Starting this business needs to be deeply important to you, otherwise you will continue to make excuses and put it on the backburner.
- Practice positive affirmations
Affirmations are incredibly powerful and effective at every stage of goal-setting. For example, let’s say your affirmation is “I am optimistic about my finances. I am confident I will make enough money to feel independent and financially stable.” When you start making money, your affirmation will change to “I have a healthy relationship with money and I make enough to live a comfortable life.”
Keeping this statement in the present tense is important because your subconscious mind will work to turn the positive intention into reality. As a result, this will rewire your brain faster.
- Create a plan of action
Coming up with a step-by-step plan will not only help you stay organized, it will hold you accountable and increase the likelihood that you will be successful. For instance, if your goal is to lose weight, you can create a weekly meal plan and workout routine.
Due to the power of our subconscious minds, habits become ingrained through repetition. On average it takes 60 days for a habit to stick, so consistency is key.
Along with using the tools above (visualization and setting an intention), an action-oriented plan will help you stay on track. If you slip up, don’t dwell on your mistakes. Stay in the present and continue to seek better, not best.
How NLP Can Anchor Your New Habits
After creating habits, the real challenge begins: making them stick. This is where neurolinguistic programming (NLP) comes in. Anchoring is a process used in NLP to trigger a positive internal response to an external stimulus.
Jordan Belfort, also known as the Wolf of Wall Street, uses this NLP technique to his advantage. When he closes a deal and feels that burst of excitement, he pulls out his essential oil inhaler and boom! He’s anchored in the positive emotional state. Whenever Belfort needs a confidence boost, he pulls it out and takes a big whiff, bringing him right back to that positive mental state.
Why is anchoring so powerful? In many cases, NLP practitioners use kinesthetic (touch) anchors to elicit states. For instance, “press your fingers on your forehead when you feel creative.” The problem with this is that it can become weakened the more you unconsciously do this gesture. Smell is the strongest sense tied to memory, which explains why Belfort uses smell to anchor his emotional states.
So, how can you apply anchoring in your own life and feel the way you want to feel more often?
The first step is to find an olfactory anchor: a smell that you love, a smell that is unique and something that is easy to carry.
BoomBoom inhalers check all three of these boxes. It smells incredible, it’s a mix of essential oils you’ve never smelled before, and it’s travel size! As an added bonus, it contains all-natural ingredients.
The next time you’re in a peak emotional state, pull out your BoomBoom and take a big whiff. Inhale into both nostrils. Feel the sensation moving through your body and lock in the positive emotion. Over time, your body will respond automatically. Yes, it’s that simple!