We all would love to lose some weight, be more fit, have some extra financial security and have some time to enjoy life more, but our habits often get in our way to meeting our goals. Freeing yourself from your habits can be tough. I know that several of mine have held me back at times. They can be conquered and there is victory to be had when you know how to tackle it. Our goal is going to be identifying them and replacing them with a more productive habit.
Where to start?
The first thing that you need to do is to get your eyes on the habits. It’s one thing to think of them, it’s a different thing to see them visually laid out in front of you. Write down every bad habit you have and how long you have been doing it. Take your time and be honest with yourself. For example:
- Procrastinating – 8 years
- Not contributing to 401K – 3 years
- Eating too much junk food – 15 years
- Smoking/drinking – 2 years
- No physical activity/outlet – 10 years.
Now that you have these written down, list the impact that these things have had on your life. How much money did you lose, time with loved ones, opportunities missed or held yourself back? For example:
- Eating too much junk food – 15 years.
- Gained 28 pounds during that time.
- Used over 20 sick days the last 4 years.
Seeing the habit as well as the cost can be a great motivator for true change.
Identify the triggers and replace them.
Now that you know the things that are holding you back, you need to take it a step further and find the triggers. One of my personal habits is snacking on a bunch of junk food after 4pm. The trigger was that I was bored and used to the food to fill that space. Once you find the trigger, replace it with a positive activity. In my example, I gave myself a cutoff time to eat food and I allowed myself only one snack instead of grazing.
Take the journey to success.
Remember that your change is truly a journey and not a switch that you flip. Here are some things to remember along the way.
- Focus on small, incremental changes.
- Set times and smaller goals to hit on the way to your ultimate goal.
- Track your progress and celebrate the journey.
- Hang in there and don’t get discouraged with slow growth.
Remember a couple of things. First, that no one is perfect. Don’t beat yourself up if you stumble some on the way. Pick yourself back up and keep moving forward. Second, remember that true behavior change takes 66 repetitions to change the pathways in our brain. Don’t give up if you are only 12 reps in!
Find those habits that hold you back, replace them with a positive and begin to see your success and happiness increase.
Make a better tomorrow.