How to establish a new habit: Think of it like brushing your teeth

Well, I recently just brushed my teeth and I feel very refreshed and clean.
Do you ever hear people talk about how good it feels to brush their teeth? Do they feel it’s important enough to let you know that they’ve recently brushed their teeth? How often does this come up in conversation? How did your teeth brushing go today? Anything interesting? Mine was normal.
Good old tooth-brushing session.
So this is a pattern, a habit, that I find very useful to call to mind.
When I’m working on building much more difficult habits, much more challenging habits, it’s useful to remember the very simple habit of brushing my teeth, because that really is everything that a habit should be.
It’s not something we do for fun, not rarely if ever feel just that urge to brush teeth.
Unless we have really terrible breath.
Hopefully it doesn’t get to that point where our breath is so terrible that we actually directly want to brush teeth.
No, brushing teeth is just a routine.
It’s just a habit.
It’s like, okay, for me it’s after breakfast and in the evening, so that’s my time to brush teeth, so I brush my teeth.
Do I want to do it? No.
But I do it anyway, because it is a habit.
And of all the habits that we have, it is- for most people, I think it is one of the most built-in habits that we have.
We don’t have to think about it, and yet we do it.
So the next time you’re having difficulty establishing a habit, finding it hard to do something every day no matter if you don’t feel like it, well, when I felt that way, I think about why can’t it be like brushing my teeth? I’ll make it like brushing my teeth.
Just something that I do.
So in the early stages of establishing a habit, it’s not like that.
But- and maybe that’s what it was like as a kid.
As a kid, I never wanted to brush my teeth.
Brushing my teeth was just something that I was told was important, and if I don’t brush my teeth, then my teeth will fall out later.
But as a kid, that’s not very convincing line of thought, thinking about some, oh, I have to do something unpleasant now because sometime in the future it might lead to something bad if I don’t do it.
Well, hard to think that way as a kid.
It’s more like, oh, I don’t want to do it, so I don’t want to do it, and some thought about future consequences of not doing it now doesn’t seem to sink in when I’m in the single-digit age.
But, you know, as we get older, then the habit sinks in, and eventually, for most of us, it gets to a point where you can simply do it without thinking.
It’s simply part of what is considered to be a normal, good routine.
How did that happen? How did we go from this thing we didn’t want to do to a thing we do without thinking? That is a habit.
That is the development of a habit.
So if we can do it with something as simple as brushing teeth, it can be done with other activities that we do regularly.
So, any kind of cleaning, we can just clean our space just like cleaning our teeth.
And exercise is one thing that I’ve done in this way, where it’s just- it is like brushing my teeth.
It’s just I have to do my regular exercise, and even if I don’t feel like it, because if I don’t feel like brushing my teeth, I still do it.
I know what it would be like to wake up in the morning if I had not brushed my teeth in the evening.
It doesn’t feel good.
And even if I wouldn’t even notice the next day, just overall, I know that it’s something that is worth doing, and so I do it.
This is really a simple point.
You know, I aim to make each of these vlogs at least five minutes in length.
This one, I wonder, maybe I’ve gone too simple.
Because, you know, can you really speak for more than five minutes about the brushing of the teeth? You know, it takes two minutes to do it, and I’m still talking about brushing teeth.
Very, very simple thing.
And I love when I can take something that’s very simple and apply it to any new difficult problems that come up.
So, any time I need to build myself a habit, I remember there’s one habit I already have down.
And if I can do it with brushing my teeth, I can do it with that new thing that I want to do regularly.

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