Human beings are habitual creatures. They follow same patterns they followed this morning, yesterday and two weeks ago. We bite our nails during the news, smoke cigarettes when having a coffee in the morning, wake up in the morning just to procrastinate for the next 10 minutes and eat hamburgers because there was nothing else in the fridge while trying to lose weight… Sound familiar?
We develop our habits over time both knowingly and unknowingly, willingly and unwillingly. At the end they are responsible for the way we say, think and do certain things. Habits good or bad can make us or break us. In fact our success, effectiveness and even happiness are closely linked to our habits. We can take it further and actually see the connection of habit to everything in our lives.
Good habits help you advance in your career, feel satisfied, healthy, fulfilled while bad habits prevent you from reaching your goals, being happy, healthy and productive. Bad habits are like weights tied to your legs that are constantly pulling you down stopping you from getting what you want. It’s a bad circle of promises, failures, habits and promises again.
Great news is that it takes 21 days to create a habit or get rid of an old one but remember that it is much easier to start a new habit than to break a bad one that’s been with you for years.
Here are some tips to get you started:
Be damn serious about wanting to break a habit. When it comes to old patterns that are already part of your personality commitment is everything. Be sure that it is your choice to break a habit.
Observe your behavior closely. Note what situations bring on your unwanted habits. What are your thoughts and feelings at that times? Write them down because it might help you see when and why you follow the same behavior scheme.
Come up with a ritual to perform before a habit. If you’re planning to start waking up earlier than usual but till now you have been switching the alarm off as soon as you hear the ring try jumping out of bed straight away as your new ritual. If you’re wanting to stop overeating try drinking a glass of water before each meal. Develop a ritual that will work for you.
Fulfill the needs of an old habit by creating a new positive habit. Replace a bad habit with a positive one. Simple but effective. If you want to give up surfing the internet for hours to kill boredom change your social life and for example sign up for a photography course.
Don’t focus on changing too many habits at once. Put all your energy into breaking one or two habits at a time and once you have achieve that you can move on and pick the next habit to eliminate.
Get a support system. Try telling your friends and family that you’re trying to break a certain habit. Their help and encouragement will give you that extra push.
Turn your negative thoughts into positive ones. Anytime a doubt sets in try telling yourself how great you will feel having accomplished your goal of breaking a bad habit.
Put your commitments on paper. It will become a promise to yourself if you write down in specific terms what habit you want to get rid off.
Keep yourself motivated by rewarding yourself at the end. After 21 days of staying focused and implementing changes celebrate your achievement by rewarding yourself. Think of something that you will really enjoy that can be something special to look forward to.
Good luck and remember that consistency is the key!