The Good/Bad Habit Choice
Ten Steps for Real Habit Change
Reasons why you need a regimented plan for habit change
Each and every one of us has a collection of good and bad habits.
Part of being an adult rather than a child (regardless of physical age) is the ability to conciously build on our good habits and attempt to change our bad ones.
Of course this is sometimes easier said then done.
We may all desire to make positive change but without a regimented approach this often leads to failure rather than the success that we desire. This in turn makes people think that changing their habits can be too difficult, which in turn makes each and every future change even harder.
Because of this, I hope you can see how important having an actual plan and following it can be to successful change.
This article therefore showcases 10 "steps" which can turn your DREAM of a better you into a reality, one step at a time, by bringing out real long-term habit change.
#1 Choose One Habit Change at a time
Quite a few people bite off more than they can chew.
It goes like this, people get energy and encouragment to produce long term change. They quickly set about rocking their foundations and trying to change everything.
It is simply too much at once, so of course, in due time they fail all the change and soon enough quit.
This type of sweeping change rarely works.
It is far easier to do a careful and planned out change. Since it is said that a real habit takes 21-27 days of doing it each and every day to develop I have always been fan of the 30 Day habit changes.
Spend the month only working on the single change. Each and every day make sure you are consistant in usues the new habit. Soon enough it will become part of your routine and then, for the next month you can try to bring about another new habit modification.
#2 Have a Firm Belief in the Habit Modification you are undertaking
If you are not commited to a habit transformation you wish to undergo you can surely bet that with time the drive and the impetus will leave you.
It is important that you are 100% behind the new path that you are setting for yourself.
If you are a smoker, for instance, you need to be 100% behind quitting (or reducing to a specific number). If you have doubts and worries, you need to settle them beofre you begin, becuase they will devlop as cracks and then eventually into fissures that will de-rail your drive and cause you to fail in the long term.
#3 Create a Strategy and Write it Down
Without a plan you are simply asking for failure. If you wish to have any degree of success you have to write out a plan even if it is a very simple, "I will not...XXX" the act of writing it down is important psychologically to making a change stick.
Many habit modification may undergo many steps. As an example you may want to get fit and run a marathon. If you are not exercising at all, this is never going to happen in a single month, but you can set up the plan for long-term change with goals for each month and with a reasonable plan reach your goal after 6-12 months (depending on starting fitness levels)
#4 Discover Triggers
Many Habits have triggers. A certain sight, smell or place may bring about a wish to perform a bad habit and in some rare cases certain sights, sounds and people may bring out a desire for the good habits.
It is important to figure out and list all your triggers, both good and bad.
When you know your triggers you can attempt to avoid the "bad" ones, while trying to cause the good ones to happen more often.
Depending on your habits this may mean spending more time with people who encourage your "good" side and less with those that bring out your bad side
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#5 Be specific in your Habit Change
One reason many people fail at habit change is that they are too generic in their choices. A habit change decision may be something like, "I want to lose weight"..but that will never work.
You need to be specific and have specific steps.
So good habit change would be.
- I will walk/run 5 miles 3 times a week (on Monday, Wendsday and Friday)
- I will not drink beer
- I will not eat fried foods
- I will keep my complex carbohydrates to a minimum
- I will do aneorobic exercise on tuesdays, thurdays and saturdays
The more specific you can be with your choices the better chance there is for long term success.
#6 Get a support network
Get help in your habit change
Many people want to quit bad habits Cold Turkey. Just stop it one day and, "go forth and sin no more".
While this works for some people, it is not that smart. Some people can succeed this way, others can't. It is far better to hedge your bets.
Use whatever aids you can. If your addiction is strong then gradually weaning yourself from the addiction is a wise decision.
Even more important is building a support network. Have your family and friends help to keep your feet to the fire and keep you honest. Getting encouragement from these close family members helps to beat the bad habits and create a positive cycle for a new good habit to develop.
Commit to a time period
I am a big procrastinator. I am always willing to do something, "soon". Well, soon will rarely come.
If you are going to bring about real change you need to get real and be specific.
DOn't say you are going to do these habit changes, "soon" say things like on "On June 5th I will begin to XXX and I will keep it up for 30 days NO MATTER WHAT.
After that 30 days you can recommit and start a new habit also if you desire, but it is important to give each change it's own decent, "test drive" without failure or without doubt.
I will admit, this one seemed a bit cheesy to me. Affirmations are saying things like, "I will not XXX" (or I will XXX) and repeating them to yourself at least 10 times. YOu want to say these affirmations before you go to sleep, when you wake up and any time you are seriously tempted.
Like I said...a bit cheesy. But the thing is that it works.
#10 Keep track of successes and failure
Few of us are perfect. I am sure you are the exception, dear reader, but I know I am far from perfect.
Even with a strong will there may be "ooops" moments along the road to success. It is important that you get back on the hourse and not let these derail you. Keep track or all the ooops and track all the positives.
Write down the positive things you feel from your good habits. Like affirmations, thinking about all the good benefits you have gotten and wiring down all the positives helps to keep the positives rolling out.
After the 30 day period you caneither roll out an updated (and perhaps more stringent) habit change or a completely differnet one, and just work to keep the habit change you have going if it is something that works for you.