By Annette Colby –
Some things are easy to change. Then, there are deeply ingrained habits that are much more difficult. You try to change those habits, and you succeed for a while, then you stop and end up feeling like a failure.
Why are habits so difficult to change? When you are changing a habit, you are really making a “break” from the ways of your past. You are deciding that you no longer want feel or behave in the same automatic ways that you have become accustomed to. Changing habits requires more than just willpower alone.
Below is a five step strategy to help you overcome unwanted habits in your life and replace them with habits that will make your life better.
1. Make Sure Your Goal is Meaningful
One of the best ways to give your self the necessary incentive to break a habit is to think about its drawbacks, and then compare them with the benefits of being rid of the habit. You must decide that changing your habit is a worthy goal, and worth the effort involved.
2. What’s the Underlying Purpose Behind Your Habit?
Even though you want to get rid of a habit that seems destructive or limiting, recognize that your habit serves a positive purpose. There are many reasons for why we do the things we do. Bring compassion to yourself and review your habit. Even though the outcome of your habit is no longer desirable, realize that the underlying reason for your habit is important. For example, overeating may help provide a sense of calm, emotional eating may help push down emotions that you don’t want to deal with, or nail biting may help alleviate stress. Having a sense of inner calm, peace, or comfort are important things.
3. Design a New Habit
Now that you know some of the benefits beneath your habit, spend some time identifying a new habit that will be at least as effective as or more effective then the one you are giving up. For example, suppose you have decided to give up eating dessert every night. Instead of spending all your energy and willpower forcing yourself to avoid dessert, realize the benefits your evening dessert brings to you. Then make a list of new habits that would offer those benefits in a new and more beneficial way. If your dessert is an attempt to provide comfort and relaxation, decide what other activities might provide those same benefits in a manner that was even more desirable. You might add walking, yoga, meditation, and breathing techniques to your evening routine to bring you relaxation and reduce stress. In addition, you might decide to read and/or take an evening bath to provide comfort and curb cravings.
4. Create an Action Plan
Create an outline of how you are going to implement your new success habit. If your new habit is about adding exercise to your evening routine, then decide what type of exercise interests you, where you would perform that exercise, what type of clothing or equipment you would need, and exactly what time and days you would exercise. There’s a saying in the motivational world that our priorities are shown where we spend our time and money. If developing a new habit is your priority, find a way to place it on your calendar, and if necessary, spend money on your new habit.
5. The Heart of Change
Bring respect to your journey by realizing that changing a habit is not easy. So, before jumping into change, ask yourself if you are psychologically determined to do whatever it takes, for as long as it takes, to change you habit. In addition, make sure your heart is in it. It’s not enough to think you “should” be changing your bad habits. Long-term motivation is easier to maintain when you realize in your heart that you want change because you want to feel differently. The heart of change is in your emotions. Enthusiasm, excitement, and pride spur action. What gets you excited about your change?
Change doesn’t happen instantly. Success comes from getting insights about why you do what you do, and then practicing new habits. Adopt a positive attitude and as you stick with your plan, you will experience yourself as a different person.
If you’re not living the life of your dreams or getting the results you want, it’s probably your beliefs holding you back. Inspirational author and personal growth expert Dr. Annette Colby, RD can help. Whether you are trying to take the pain out of life, turn difficult emotions into joy, release stress, end emotional eating, or move beyond depression, you can achieve success. Annette breaks it down step-by-step so anyone can achieve the life they are wanting to live, no matter how tough life was before. To access hundreds of content filled articles and sign up for an inspirational Loving Miracles newsletter visit http://www.LovingMiracles.com
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