Gateway habits are similar to the gateway drug concept. For example In the past studies showed that individuals that tried cigarettes would be more likely to try stronger drugs. However, a gateway habit can also be leveraged to eliminate bad habits.
A gateway habit is a small almost insignificant action you take in any area of life.
Cutting back on sugar could be as small as starting with having just a little less sugar in your coffee eventually leading to no sugar.
Starting an exercise program could be as small as wearing sneakers around the house.
Learning a new language you could begin by learning the words for the utensils you use everyday.
Improving relationships with loved ones and friends could be one small compliment or kind word.
Waking up earlier could be moving the alarm back by a minute.
Of course there are many other examples where you can apply small actions to change.
Taking these small actions over an extended period of time is the key to changing them. Allowing your body and mind to rewire its self to the new normal is the hardest part. So many people expect habit changes to happen quickly because they’ve heard it takes 21 days to change a habit so they give up on day 22 if they haven’t done so. Some give up because they miss a day or two and punish themselves by going back to their old ways.
The 21 days theory has been debunked several times and research shows that as individuals we are all wired differently so for some it might only take month but for others it might take six months. Having patience and not comparing your changes to others is also a habit in itself.
Trying to change too many habits at one time is also very hard to do. Start by changing one habit that you don’t like and then use the discipline gained to build your confidence in changing the next one.
Go ahead and start to change one today.