Habits… it’s a big ‘life’ topic! Bad habits can, at worst, become an unbearable burden which can destroy your self-confidence, self-respect, relationships, health, chance for success and life in general. Good habits, the opposite.
How to change our habits is a topic so important to people that James Clear sold over 10 million copies of his book, Atomic Habits, in over 50 languages, since 2018 . Steven Covey’s 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, has sold over 40 million copies since its first publication.
Let’s consider what it takes to change a habit.
1. Really, really wanting to change it!
This may sound elementary, but it’s the most important factor. How badly do you want to change it? Ambivalence or ‘should’s’ don’t cut it.
If you’re serious, decide: I WILL change that habit. Once that choice has been made, consider this:
2. What are the obstacles?
There may be some external obstacles, eg. finding someone to look after the kids, money concerns, time… Generally the external circumstances are dwarfed by the internal obstacles – our conditioning, ideas we believe about ourselves and the world which sabotage what we want, critical, bullying, negative self-talk, for example. After all, it’s our beliefs and perspectives which dictate our life experience.
Some courageous self-reflection here is invaluable. And… sometimes we need help identifying those internal obstacles, because they simply feel part of ‘us’.
Once obstacles are identified…
3. Make a plan.
What will you do when (not if) that obstacle pops up?
How will you plan your time to prevent obstacles? Put it as a non-negotiable in your calendar?
What will you do when that internal voice discourages you – “It’s too wet today”, “I’m too tired – I’ll start tomorrow”, “Oh, it doesn’t really matter. It’s not such a big deal”, “Just this once, then I’ll do it…”… Familiar? That voice is extremely good at preventing us from making change.
Don’t listen to it.
Set yourself up for success by starting small with your commitment. Choose one thing to change with baby steps.
Small successes = growing confidence = momentum for change = bigger impact
Small wins and following through has a massive impact on your self-belief and motivation.
And, as Nike says:
4. Just do it.
When you stop listening to all the manifold reasons why you shouldn’t and just do it, life and habit change becomes oh so much easier!
And when you lapse, just do it again.
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