It’s Time to Trade Old Habits for New Ones

It’s Time to Trade Old Habits for New Ones

There’s no doubt about it, the last few years have been tough.

For many of us in many ways.

But if you’ve felt you’ve been languishing and if you’d like to flourish more, then check out this great reminder of some powerful positive psychology strategies for more happiness and a better life.

via Psychology Today by Diane Dreher

KEY POINTS

  • As we emerge from Covid restrictions, now is a perfect time to begin new positive habits.
  • Habits form the foundations of our lives, comprising 45 percent of our daily activities.
  • Take one small step, then another to build up your new positive habit.

As millions of us are resuming our usual activities after years of Covid restrictions, we can cultivate new positive habits instead of just going back to the same old routines.

We may not be aware of it, but habits are powerful foundations for our lives. Research shows that habits strongly influence at least 45 percent of our daily activities. These are activities we typically do automatically (Neal, Wood, & Quinn, 2006). We build our habits by conscious choices, repeating them until they become automatic, part of our brain’s procedural memory (Robbins & Costa, 2017). In the morning, we wake up and brush our teeth—without making a conscious decision to do so.

Some habits, like brushing our teeth, are healthy. Others, not so much. Our habits are activated by contextual cues. If we want to break an old habit of snacking on junk food, one way is to eliminate the contextual cue—take the candy dish off the kitchen table. Another way is to replace an unhealthy habit with a healthier one, giving yourself a new contextual cue by putting a bowl of fruit on the kitchen table instead.

To bring greater joy, vitality, and meaning to your life, you can build new habits based on what positive psychology researchers call the five components of flourishing: PERMA: Positive Emotion, Engagement, Relationships, Meaning, and Accomplishment (Seligman, 2011). This is a perfect time to do it; over two years of Covid restrictions have taken us out of our old routines, including many of the contextual cues for habits we’d like to replace.

To begin this process, look over the PERMA categories below. Which of these categories could help you trade an old limiting habit for a positive one? Would you like to have more positive emotions? A greater sense of engagement? More positive relationships? Greater meaning in your life? A sense of accomplishment?

When you’ve chosen a category to focus on, ask yourself, “What is one way I can build a new flourishing habit in this area? Here are some possibilities to consider.

P=Positive Emotions. What makes you happy? The national Hopeful Mindsets Project (iFred, 2021) has identified happiness habits that can foster positive feelings. They include: listening to your favorite music, playing an instrument, exercising, spending time in nature, singing, pursuing a favorite hobby, learning new things, volunteering, spending time with people you love, and practicing gratitude. To begin experiencing more positive emotions, choose one happiness habit and incorporate it into your life this week…

… keep reading the full & original article HERE