“Motivation is what gets you started. Habit is what keeps you going.” ~ Jim Ryun
When we do a behavior over and over, the routine becomes automatic. Think about how you can drive home without really thinking about it. The neuro pathways in our brain literally thicken as we groove that behavior over and over.
If you want to change an old habit, you actually have to build a new one in its place. Like if you have a habit of eating candy in the afternoon, you have to change that to something new — perhaps eating fruit or going for a walk instead.
Shawn Achor, author of The Happiness Advantage, identified the importance of the “20 second rule” — if you want to change a behavior, you have to create resistance to the old behavior and make an easier path to the new one. In fact, a window as short as 20 seconds can support your shift. For example, if you are trying to cut back on using your media devices (digital detox), putting your smart phone in the closet once you get home, instead of the coffee table, can be all it takes — those 20 seconds it will take you to get it out of the closet is just enough time to reconnect to your motivation and make a different choice.
So consider what habits you are trying to shift and set yourself up for success.