Often I ask people about their bad habits. It is amazing how many blank faces or awkward laughs happen at that time. It is rather interesting how many people are not willing to own up to bad habits. And why is that, when we all set out to obtain a better life? Mostly because we are generally awesome at our bad habits. We practiced them so much that we are champions at it. Giving up bad habits would mean change, it would mean that we have to leave the comfort zone. And we like to resist that.
Sure, we intellectually know that we need to watch less TV – BTW , I found this one the easiest to give up! – have less junk food, move more and waste less time and money on things that we don’t need. At times we may even have a spur of inspiration to get going, but it can seem impossible to keep these new habits. So we give up, bash ourselves up for our failed attempt and crawl back into our comfort zone.
But deep down, you know you need better habits! So what normally happens when you set out to change? I know I used to find myself throwing 200% at something for the first week or so and if I didn’t see results I’d be disheartened, ready to give up.
If you do the same thing, I can tell you, you have company!
This is how we put ourselves on a roller coaster. But what if you sopped for a minute. And thought about what you really wanted to achieve and broke it down into smaller targets. Let’s say you want to go on a holiday. You envy people that go on holidays 4 times a year. The problem is that you never find the time and the money to make this happen.
Imagine what would happen if you started by planning out your year. Generally there are 20 days you get as holidays, how would you utilize that? 1x4 weeks? 2x2 weeks? 4x1 week? To give you bang for your buck and recharge you, what would work better with time and money. Then look at where could you go? Price them up. With the internet these days, it can be done in a matter of minutes!
Then make a commitment, put in your leave form for at least the first break.
And then comes the habit of the money. You priced it up, you know how much it will cost. You know how far away your trip is. So you know how much you need to put away each week to make this happen. I’d also recommend to set targets along the way to pay for the things that you need to make this happen. Map it out. Going through this process actually should give you positive emotions about the end goal. So much so that if a temptation to spend up comes your way, you can say no! And the next thing you know, you are on a well deserved holiday.
Then you just rinse and repeat the process. Now I just used holidays as an example, but you can do the same thing with anything that you want to achieve.
How Could A Small Habit Change Your Life?
See our ingrained habits happen subconsciously no matter what happens in our lives. Like a pattern keep repeating itself. You see self-discipline will only take you so far. You need to set yourself up with the right habits that will run even when stress happens.
Let me give you an example. Perhaps you have heard how hard it is to quit cigarettes. You may even known someone who tried to quit smoking. In the beginning they were probably good – they had enough discipline to curb their addiction every time the desire would pop up. But without fail, it would only be a short time before IT happens…
You know how it goes. Those windows of HIGH stress that come out of left field. Instances when, for one reason or another, “shit hits the fan”. And just like that… your highly-capable, intelligent colleague starts reaching for those deadly comfort sticks once again…
Then, after only one seemingly-innocent moment of weakness, pretty soon things are back to normal… and the old behavioral pattern has mercilessly taken back control (aka FAILURE). But what if this person re-trained themselves that when the shit is about to hit the fan they go for a walk instead? It can be done, if you know the triggers.
Making changes in your life comes down to becoming aware of yourself and the choices you make. If you can enter a gap between the response time between the two, it is amazing what you can achieve!
How would your life be different if you learnt that technique? How would your life be different if you could learn various techniques and access tools when you need to conquer habits that are holding you back? The Abundant Mind Toolkit helps you break bad habits and reprogram your brain to success.