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It’s said that it takes 28 days to make something a habit. That’s 28 days of doing something consistently before it suddenly becomes the norm; when you can do it without thinking. You consider habits to be things like biting your nails, cracking your knuckles or clicking your pen; things that are annoying or unhygienic. However, habits are simply things you do in your day to day life. For example, brushing your teeth twice a day is a habit. You have been taught to brush your teeth twice a day so you do. Due to the fact you have done it for so long, your brain considers it normal and something you automatically do. That’s why it’s hard to break habits and difficult to continue with diets, exercising regularly, revising at a specific time – because your brain isn’t used to it. Breaking habits is hard but making them is just as difficult.
So, here are a few tips to try and get you making and breaking your habits:
- Introduce a forfeit. One example of this is to introduce a swear jar where you have to put a pound in every time you swear if you’re trying to cut down on the bad words. It could also be worth making a bet with your friends and flatmates; whoever gets to the end of the day with the most swears will have to buy the other a drink.
- Give yourself rewards. Buy yourself a chocolate bar that you can’t eat until you’ve done so many hours of revision, or promise yourself a cheeky H&M order if you make it however many hours without procrastinating. A perfect strategy for anyone who can’t go more than 10 minutes without checking Facebook and Twitter!
- Get up an hour earlier. In that extra hour, plan your day. Plan things like what meals you’ll make, where your lectures are and designate a set time to finish your essay. It’s impressive how much more productive your day can feel with an extra hour.
- Find a stress reliever. A lot of bad habits can be caused by stress; they’re familiar territory and often put you at ease. The tip is to find a stress reliever that is beneficial instead. When you feel yourself getting stressed out and leaning in to bite your nails, try going for a run or eating some fruit instead.
- Simply cut back. It’s probably easier said than done but simply cutting back on doing something will help you break the habit. If you catch yourself about to do something that you know is a bad habit, just stop yourself rather than giving up and going for it anyway. It’s hard to begin with but it won’t be long before stopping yourself becomes a habit in itself.