We all have at least one—a habit we just can’t seem to break. Whether it’s as simple as reading a newspaper from back to front or as complex as indulging in dessert every day, habits can control our lives and present roadblocks to success.
Ready to take control of your life? Let’s break the cycle of habitual behavior—once and for all.
Sometimes we are unaware of things we habitually do. Maybe you cross your arms defensively when talking to others and don’t realize it. Maybe you run for the vending machine when you’re stressed.
Ask a friend or co-worker to point out anything you might be doing unconsciously. Tell them it’s ok to be brutally honest. You’re working on improving yourself; it may hurt in the beginning, but you’ll be better off in the long run.
Whatever the habit is, identify it and own it.
There is something powerful about putting your thoughts into writing.
Write down a list of reasons for why your habit needs to go. Be specific about why you need to break the habit. Memorize the list and recite it to yourself whenever you need a reminder of why you’re changing.
Develop a plan of action to help overcome your habit.
Want to cut the junk food out of your life? Purchase healthy snacks to keep at your desk for when the urge to hit the vending machine strikes. Trying to lose weight? Schedule personal training sessions at the gym.
Whatever the habit is that you want to get rid of, develop a plan for success.
Tell someone about your goal: your spouse, a trusted friend, an associate. Enlist their help.
Tell the accountability partner about your plans for overcoming the bad habit and ask for encouragement if they see you faltering.
Give your partner a copy of your list of reasons for extra reminders of why you’re changing.
Most likely, you will slip-up on occasion. It is important to recognize a setback does not mean failure.
Dust yourself off and start over. Remind yourself that perfection isn’t the goal; overcoming a bad habit is. There’s no time limit and there isn’t a penalty for making mistakes.
Pull out your list of reasons, remind yourself of the goal and start again.
Small victories are important. They can act as milestones on your path to changing your life and should be celebrated.
Made it through a whole day without using swear words? Treat yourself to dessert. Successfully stayed away from the coffee machine all week AND no one got hurt? Buy yourself a new pair of shoes.
Find small ways to reward yourself along the way and celebrate in a big way when the habit is gone for good.
Are You Ready to Make a Change?
It can be challenging to make lifestyle changes, but the payoff is worth it in the end. Are there habits in your life you need to overcome? There’s no better time than today to start changing!