Habits can be tough things to break. We make New Year’s resolutions and have tossed them away by the middle of January. We resolve to lose weight or give up smoking and stumble sooner or later under the insistence of cravings or peer group pressure. We try the same methods over and over again, confident that THIS time we have the resolve, the commitment and the desire. It was Einstein that said that foolishness is doing the same thing time and again and expecting different results.
So let’s start by dispelling a few myths about habits that might make it easier to understand what is happening and therefore empower you to greater success.
Habits are entrenched behaviours and like any hole it takes time to dig it. The longer you dig it the deeper and wider it becomes. Every time you repeat your entrenched behaviour you are working a little harder to make the hole a little larger (like our little friend here in the picture). I have struggled all my life with being over- weight. It was not until I received a real health scare that I forced myself to look at the reasons behind my over- eating. Boredom was the main culprit, a habit that had developed from childhood of reaching for food when I was at a loose end- during adverts or waiting for something to start like my workout class or a meal!!!!!!
Before then I had tried to lose weight, and had framed it around eating less- my mind- set was one of denying myself and one of scarcity and negative and incredibly difficult to sustain. What worked for me was framing it around better health- a much more positive mind- set built around empowerment. I educated myself about the healthy things I could eat, reducing cholesterol, paying attention to levels of saturated fat in food and recognising the craving for food when I had a gap in my day- that was the hardest part, made easier by my commitment to healthy living. I did not want to have the heart attack my elder brother had had and have stents fitted to keep me alive!!!
A Little Self- Compassion
Over time, I have dug myself another hole- new entrenched behaviour based upon positive, healthy living. Every shovel- full of earth from this new hole goes to fill in the old one, reaffirming every success. I congratulate myself on feeling lighter, more revitalised and energised, more productive and generally fitter and healthier. It also allows me to have compassion for myself when I go back to the old habit- it’s a huge hole that I sometimes fall back into- and gets me back to my new mind- set quicker and easier, without the baggage and chastisement that used to go with the odd trip up.
Shifting Mind Set
In this world of instant access, we are used to having things now. Habit breaking does not work that way- it takes time and effort. A slow gradual process of unlearning the old habit and entrenching a new habit that is better for your health, productivity, career prospects, personal development and progression is the only sure- fire way. It requires a shift in mind- set and life- style choice. The feeling of empowerment and success when you achieve your goals is second to none. Good luck and I hope this helps to break the habits that may be barriers on your road to achieving your goals and dreams and fulfilling your true potential.
Over to you
What entrenched behaviour have you overcome? What habits are you struggling with? How have you achieved success in breaking habits? Do you have any tips that would help others overcome habits that limit their potential? If you do, please post them in the comments section below and help build an on- line resource to empower people to achieve their full potential.
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