Are you finding difficulty in establishing a good habit in spite of determination and self-discipline? It is time to consider scientific method on how to form a habit.
The ups and downs are part of our personal growth path, but if you are still determined to respect your good intentions you have found the right place to discover all the effective tools to achieve your goals.
I want to take advantage of this article to talk to you about 2 psychological techniques that can be successfully applied to create a new habit scientifically.
Here they are:
Modeling, or shaping, is a form of learning developed by the American psychologist Burrhus Skinner, father of the psychological current known as behaviorism.
According to Skinner, this technique is particularly effective for modifying behavior gradually and definitively.
If you want to create a new habit you will have to follow a sort of “algorithm of success”:
In the early days of starting your new habit, it is important to celebrate and reward every little progress towards the desired behavior. Even if initially you won’t be able to fully respect your good intentions, you will have to celebrate, even excessively, every single little step that gets you closer to your goal.
Do you want to start running every morning? Reward yourself for just being able to get out of bed and put on your running shoes. However small your progress may seem, celebrating them at this early stage will help you in the next steps.
After the first week, the prizes should focus only on the behaviors that actually allow you to build your new habit. This means that over time you will have to raise the bar more and more, not being satisfied with celebrating small actions, but moving on to more difficult and challenging actions.
For modeling to be truly effective, it is important that reinforcements (rewards) are positive, continue and immediately follow the action you want to reward.
But what to do when we continue to abandon our good habits, to always start again?
2. Interval reinforcement
Interval reinforcement, also known as “the partial reinforcement effect”, is a technique, also studied by Skinner, which is particularly useful for re-learning behaviors already learned in the past.
Interval reinforcement requires more time to guarantee good results, but allows us to form a habit in a stable and definitive way.
Let me take advantage of Las Vegas to try to explain this technique to you.
Imagine a slot machine. If the slot machines functioned according to the logic of continuous reinforcement, at every insertion of the coin you would receive a prize. A game of this type, besides being boring, is absolutely anti-economic. Reason why, the slot machines and the like exploit the reinforcement at intervals: have you ever wondered what pushes hordes of old women to insert hundreds of dollars in these bad machines?
If you want to make a new habit permanent you will have to reward not only the single daily action, but you will have to reward with something you really care about. In this case, the goal is “not to break the chain”. The more consecutive days you will be able to respect your new habit and the more significant the award you will have to be.
To sum up
Now you’ve learned 2 psychological techniques on how to form a habit. Therefore you have no reason to leave your hope about practicing and developing good habit. These 2 techniques can guarantee you to get your the desired results.
Wish you all the best.
The Time Habits Team focus on a stress-free living and better performing life. We provide helpful tips and techniques via blog posts, articles and ebooks. Our goal is to help millennials develop healthy habits, manage time better and level up their productivity.