Forming Bad Habits Is Easy
Unfortunately though, there’s no shortage of unhealthy and unproductive behaviors that get in the way.
It is so easy to fall into unhealthy habits like…
- Eating fast “convenient” food.
- Checking Facebook instead of going to the gym.
- Showing up to a job you hate everyday.
- Biting your nails.
- Smoking, drinking, or other distracting behaviors.
Why Is It So Hard To Create And Stick To Good Habits?
Eventually, there comes a point in our lives when someone or something challenges us, motivates us or inspire us to change.
It could be a spouse leaving, a bad prognosis by the doctor or no longer being able to button your pants!
Research has shown though, that most of us are likely to continue the same behavior or bad habit, rather than make that change “for the better.”
Doubt Creates Fear
I have been doing addiction counseling for everything from smoking, drinking, using drugs like painkillers to gambling. One lady was actually addicted to praying!
I also found the reason most people don’t give up some of their destructive behaviors, even though they are unhealthy, is because their old pattern serves some purpose.
For instance, the junk food may be the only joy they have in their life.
Smoking a cigarette may be the only break they take during a stressful.
You get the idea.
Gaining vs. Losing
The way most of us were taught to get rid of a habit or to stop some unhealthy behavior was to use our willpower. What tends to happen though is that willpower will you get you so far.
Eventually, most people end up going back to the old behavior.
According to the research, what DOES work is not giving something up, but adding in some new better behavior instead.
Small Shifts Lead To Long Term Gain
Most of us imagine that the way we will change is to make a grand declaration in some life defining moment like New Years Eve.
That does work for some people, but it underestimates the value of making better decisions on a regular and daily basis.
Think about it…every habit that you have — good and bad — is the result of the many small decisions you’ve made over time.
You accepted that first cigarette and then you smoked again.
You Want To Get There Fast
Creating new action steps that include a reward will make the new behavior stick. Making the new process enjoyable is the key to success.
The most common mistake most people make, is believing they are a failure unless their new behavior happens overnight with willpower, instead of creating those new behaviors and routines that will make the changes last.
Here’s The Truth…
Becoming the person you want to be — the type of person who lives by a higher standard, believes in them self, someone who can be counted on— is about the choices you make minute by minute.
How in shape or out of shape you are? The result of your habits.
How happy or unhappy you are? The result of your habits.
How successful or unsuccessful you are? The result of your habits.
What you do repeatedly forms the type of person you are and what you believe in.
One Simple Strategy For Making Long Term Change
Here is a simple strategy, I learned from the book, The Power of Habit, for making long-term life changes.
1.Start with one small habit you want to change.
i.e. Stopping the negative self talk.
2. Understand the big picture of why you want this habit.
i.e. I want to stop the negative self talk, so I can like myself better. I want to acknowledge myself for all my hard work and efforts, so I don’t have to acknowledge other people to make me feel good.
3. Create one action step to achieve your goal.
i.e., I will look in the mirror and acknowledge myself for all the good things I did that day.
i.e. Every night when I brush my teeth.
5. Create a new routine.
Making it a routine tells your brain it is safe to go into automatic pilot.
6. Figure out a reward.
It needs to be immediate – right after you do the desired behavior.
The routine can be the reward itself, but you have to acknowledge it.
i.e. You could add a smile and acknowledge yourself for taking the time to do what you said you were going to do.
Are you dealing with an unhealthy habit or behavior that you want to change or get rid of? I’d love to help. Contact me to set up a complimentary clarity session to brainstorm.
What is one small habit you can start today to change by taking one small action step? Let me know in the comments below…