To Construct a New Habit, You Don’t Need to Read too Much — Just Use These 2 Brain-based Tips

This article was written by my 11-year-old son who, after a few months of “upward” struggle, has been quite successful in overwriting the habit of getting hooked onto online games with one of focusing on school work.

Photo Credit: Goodreads

In this article, I will be showing you 2 tips and tricks to create a useful habit that work all the times, without you having to read so many books.

Normally, people do things automatically without knowing that they even do them. If you’re cooking a dish that you have done probably a MILLION times before, you might not even need to use your brain power to do it. It’s like sleeping while doing things. These are called HABITS. Habits are really handy and important because it’s like investing your brainpower for getting more things done while saving your energy.

The first thing to do is not to resist but to focus on something else and get your willpower up. People keep saying, “Use your will to push away the temptation” but that won’t work. The more your brain resists something, the more the connections related to that something keep firing in your brain, motivating you to take… the resisted action. Therefore, you need to divert your attention to something else that is equally alluring. For example, if you are determined to make a new habit like going on a diet, you can definitely do it. But most of the time, there are distractions along the way like “Oh, there’s some chicken!” and it smells so scrumptious. But wait a second. Before you go and take a bite, think about something that you LOVE about the diet like, how you get to try new foods that you haven’t tried before. Once you think of something that absolutely overpowers the other temptation, you will decide to do the right thing.

The next thing is to celebrate your accomplishment. Most people are like, “I wanna play video games” in a singsong voice while they do their work. But you don’t really deserve to have the reward of you don’t put great effort into it. For example, if you are a child and you would like to play computer games after you do your homework and chores, it’s an A OK. But if the child only does the work JUST to have the reward, that’s a NO SIR. Celebrating is very important because you appreciate your own efforts and are more motivated to do it next time. You brain learns that the wanted behavior is the pathway to the reward.

So if you really want to create new habits, work hard on them no matter what gets in your way. Right now, I am trying to stop having too much time on video games and more time on work. Currently, it’s not perfect but I’m on my way to perfection! I hope the workers in my brain are STILL PAVING THE ROAD. “Hey brain! Get back to work!”

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Amy Nguyen

Amy Nguyen

I write about brain-based happiness through real life bite-sized stories.