Brain Byte: Sell Yourself A New Habit

Bad Habits Store Sign

Photo Credit Brent Moore of Nashville


Habit is habit, and not to be thrown out the window by any man; but rather, coaxed down the stairs one step at a time. – Mark Twain

This is the time of year to talk habits.  Ridding old ones replacing with new ones.  I have written about the process of how habits form a pattern, or a groove, on your brain here.  According to Karl Albrecht in his book, Brain Power: Learn to Improve Your Thinking Skills, you can sell yourself on a chosen new habit!

He marks out the step-wise process of a professional salesperson persuading a customer to buy a product:

1)  Attention – the customer realizes the product exists

2) Interest – customer thinks the product fills a need

3) Desire – customer wants product

4) Action – customer commits to purchase and sale is closed

Albrecht says these same four steps, AIDA, may be used to sell yourself a new habit pattern.

1. Clearly identify the old habit pattern you want to change in specific, observable terms [Attention]

2. Clearly identify the new habit you want to install in your brain’s system of patterns; do not say “stop procrastinating” because your brain does not operate effectively to negative commands, instead specifically detail the desired results.  For example, “leave for work at 8:15 to arrive early for work”. [Interest]

3. Make yourself fully aware of the situations in which the old habit comes into play so that you can consciously replace the undesired behavior with the desired behavior. This may take several days to weeks to evaluate.  What is triggering the desire to do the old habit?  The new habit must become more desirable. [Desire]

4. Systematically act out the new behavior over and over until it starts to become an unconscious and fully established habit. [Action]

Remember it takes 21 days of consecutive action to form a new “groove” on your brain, i.e., to form a new habit.  It will take longer if you miss days or only perform the action one time per day.


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