Habits are hard to break… but it CAN be done.
After much pondering, it dawns on me that despite having everything you need to achieve success… it IS possible to not even make it out the gate. You can have attainable goals. There can be a plan in place. You can have support systems and you can have the tools themselves necessary to complete the task… but in the end… none of that may matter. Why?
Old habits may be holding you back.
Let’s have a chat about habits… and how maybe… you might already have the key to the lock. Forewarning: it’s going to involve work, trusting yourself (and me)… and a lot of time. Buckle up, kids.
For the full chat about breaking bad habits and establishing good ones (plus more!) check out the podcast episode on iTunes here, on Android here, or on the web player at the bottom of this post. Don’t forget to hit “subscribe”!
Whoever said “you can’t teach an old dog new tricks” was a dingbat.
If you don’t believe that… you’ve given up before you started, so let’s get that nasty little idea that “you can’t do it” out of our heads, m’kay? Like I’ve said a million times, and will say a million more… attitude is everything. Now that that’s out of the way…
How exactly am I supposed to break these incredibly ingrained habits?
Well, there’s a lot to it, and that’s precisely why I took a whole podcast episode to talk about it… but the short version comes in 3 parts:
Step 1.) Saddle Up For A Long Ride
You’re going to have to accept, in pretty short order, that this is going to be a long, tedious, difficult process. Trust me… I’m speaking from experience on this one. Yes, it will be hard… but looking at it from the other side of a 130 lb weight loss and 100 mile ultramarathon finish I can tell you it is 1000% worth it to put in the work and make these habit changes happen. You’re going to need to enlist the help of those closest to you to make this a success. You’ll need them to both help you keep honest with the new habit… and not (knowingly or unknowingly) hurt or sabotage you.
Step 2.) Learn your habits and retrain your brain
This “new habits” thing is a two-parter. You’re not just “learning new tricks” and establishing a new habit… you’re replacing an old habit with this new one. In order to do that, you have to truly understand what your current “bad” habits are. Think of what you WANT to be doing (i.e. work out) and what happens when you TRY to do it (i.e. you don’t get out of bed in time or you get lazy and “take too long” reading the paper). Zero in on why you do that bad thing instead of the good thing… what you get out of it, what the reward is for that behavior… and find a way to get that same reward from a better action/habit that helps you achieve your goal. There’s more to it than that… but again… that’s why I took a whole podcast episode to talk about this.
Step 3.) Habit Change is hard. Do. Not. Give. Up.
That whole “21 days to make or break a habit” thing, as it turns out, is total crap. 21 days or a month is a great start, and that might work for some people… but MOST of us require a good 3 or 4 months to successfully retrain an ingrained habit. Yes… that long. We are, after all, creatures of habit… “what are if not that which we repeatedly do”… etc. Like I said… this is gonna take some time. The most important thing you can do is Stay The Course. DON’T GIVE UP. This is gonna be a lot of work, and it’s gonna take a lot of time… but doesn’t that make sense considering you’re changing your life? Listen to the podcast episode for more.
What’s in this episode:
- Old habits die hard…
- Megan joins us! And talks… being Superwoman…
- How to make a change
- Overarching principles governing this thing
- start small – baby steps
- how to initiate this new habit
- celebration & reward
- do not deviate from the plan
- Mindful.org article on changing habits
- Zenhabits’ Habit-Breaking Cheat Sheet
- flowchart on changing habits
- NPR – Habits: How They Form And How To Break Them
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