As of right this very moment, you are the sum of your habits. Good or bad those habits have gotten you to exactly where you are. Many of us struggle with our bad habits, or don’t even really realize that we have them. Those habits are holding you back from being a better you. If you want to change your future you need to change your habits, and that starts with changing your thoughts.
I don’t like to refer to habits as good or bad, instead I refer to them as negative and positive habits. Negative habits keep you where you are and positive habits get you to where you want to be. I don’t like to be told that I’m doing something “bad” and I’m sure you don’t either. If we can change the way we think about our habits, it makes it much easier to change them. Why is it that you have this negative habit? Do you want this negative habit? Would you want your kids to have this negative habit?
The first step is to plan on making just one habit change at a time and to make that habit easy to change. Don’t complicate it with a lot of crazy rules. If your goal is to get in activity, don’t make a lot of stipulation on for that activity. Set out with something simple like working out for 30 minutes 5 days a week. Don’t set out right off the bat and say on Monday’s I’m going to run, on Tuesday’s and Thursday’s I’m going to hike, Friday’s I’m going to do yoga. Just commit to the time frame set forth and that you’re moving. It doesn’t matter what the activity is, the less rules you have for your new habit the easier it will be to adapt to.
The secondstep is identifying your negative habit, and REPLACING it with a positive habit. You can’t just stop doing something, you need to replace it. For example, if you find that you’re eating mindlessly in front of the television each night, replace that negative habit (it is negative because you’re mindlessly eating more than you need to and not actually enjoying your meal) with a positive habit. Sit down and have dinner with your family and talk about the day. What a wonderful way to enjoy your meal and a positive habit that helps to build families. Perhaps you eat a lot of fast food, there is nothing positive for you, your body or your wallet with that negative habit. Replace that habit with making a healthy wholesome meal, you will feel better and save money. It may take a little bit more time, but think about how much more time you’re adding to your lifespan for you and your family, or how much better you’re going to feel and look. If planned properly it can be just as quick to make a healthy meal at home as it takes to go to the drive-threw wait in line place your order and go home and eat. Get your family in the kitchen involved with you and make it family time. This is an amazing opportunity to teach your children positive habits for their futures so they don’t inherit the same negative habits that perhaps you did.
The third step is to commit to this new positive habit for 30 days. Common understanding is that 21 days breaks a habit, and that is a good start, but you’ve probably had this negative habit for quite some time and committing to a longer period of time ensures that you’ve got this new positive habit ingrained where it no longer takes effort or thought, it is natural. Be quick to forgive yourself if you slip up a little, get right back at it. There is no need to abuse yourself over a slip up. Remember that those negative habits have had a hold of you for a long time, replacing them won’t happen over night. If you spend time beating yourself up, you are very likely to just give up rather than move on. Be as quick to forgive yourself as you would forgive someone else for the same mistake.
Step four is to give yourself a positive reward for accomplishing your goal. This could be anything, just not a food reward. You never want to make food a reward, it gives food more power than just being food. It makes you associate food as a prize to be won and triggers happy thoughts about it. Reward yourself with a movie, a new outfit whatever gets you excited and makes you think happy thoughts about your new positive behavior. When something makes you think happy thoughts it is easier to stick to.
The fifth step is to keep this new habit going and check with yourself again at 90 days. By now the new habit should be natural, you should start to feel guilty if you miss doing it. Really ask yourself how you’re feeling about your new positive habit, have you noticed any changes for the better? The answer is very likely yes, and that you will be surprised at just how much you don’t miss your old negative habit holding you back.
Step six is to go into repeating step one, you’re feeling great at this point about the change you’ve made and it is time to repeat that cycle while your mind and body are thinking positively about change. Set yourself a new goal to replace a negative habit with a positive one and repeat the healthy cycle of change.
What kind of negative habits are you breaking? What positive habits are you going to impliment to replace them? Let us know.