From Stuck to free: 5 steps to changing your habits
What is a habit and how can it be changed?
So often we get stuck in habits, that is we have automatic thoughts or behaviors that cause us pain or discomfort. We even dismiss these things as “just a habit,” as if they don’t matter, or they’re something we just do and we don’t know why or even when we’re doing it. An example might be tapping our fingers, shaking our foot, or having a drink or two after work. While some habits are of little consequences, others, like drinking, cause more of an issue. But not all habits are negative. Some, like getting up at the same time, going to the gym, meditating, can be quite helpful and enjoyable.
What can you do to change your habits from negative to positive? Here are 5 proven methods to do just that.
1: Keep it simple and realistic
Often times people come to me and want to know what they can do to change and at the same time want it to happen by the end of our session. While I understand what actually is being said is that they are tired and want relief from the pain they have, there can be some disappointment as habits can be very hard to change. The first step to change a habit is to make is simple. For instance, waking up at 7 instead of 10. And remember to keep it realistic. In this example, if you go to bed at 4 a.m. due to work, waking up at 7 a.m. may not be realistic. Remember, to keep your goal set to something you can actually do. Nothing motivates better than succeeding!
2: Write it down
When researchers talk with people about success in not only changing habits, but also reaching goals, one of the actions successful people take is to write down their goals. If we make the habit change tangible, that is get it out of our head, we are far more likely to succeed. If you want to go even further with this idea, tell people. Blog, email, or talk about it to others in your life. By doing this, there is a sense of responsibility that ensues.
3: Set up a schedule
This may seem like an obvious one, but in my experience, this can be quite difficult. The idea of having a schedule can be quite boring or mundane. However, a schedule is required in order for habits to form and finally stick. Use whatever means you want, a calendar, emails, text reminders, whatever, just set the new habit as something that you routinely do on a daily basis.
4: find what works for you
There are so many places to find what works for other people, Pinterest, Facebook, blogs, etc. And it’s so natural to want to emulate their strategies in order to get their results. However, what’s often missing is that those strategies aren’t personal for you. While you may want the same results, the way to achieve them may not mean anything to you. Find the ways which work for you. If you want to loose weight and you hate running, try walking or weight lifting. There are many ways to achieve your goals.
5: Reward yourself
While the ultimate goal is the final reward, that is that you’re gaining a new, more positive habit, it helps to reward yourself along the way. Whatever your reward is, it is likely to make you feel good about yourself and, again, nothing motivates better than succeeding!
So, here are 5 actions you can take to help change your habits. Remember to make them personal and meaningful. You can live the life you want!