Old habits die hard! When they are healthy (like brushing your teeth before bed) they are incredibly useful. But bad habits keep us stuck and unhappy, while they erode away your self-confidence and self-esteem. Taking control and implementing positive change creates a wave that touches many areas of your life. Any place that you are feeling stuck or frustrated, or have been working on the same issue or goal year after year, is probably being run by old patterns and habits. Here are a few simple, effective steps for creating lasting change.
1. What’s the payoff? We don’t do anything in life unless we somehow benefit. Not going to the gym for example buys us more time in front of the TV, or hanging out with friends, even if it does come with a bigger dress or pant size. Under earning allows us to avoid uncomfortable money and investment decisions and choices. Staying in an unhealthy relationship means we can put off the dreaded prospect of being alone or online dating. If you’re stuck someplace, figure out what the payoff is first.
Question: What am I getting out of this?
2. Get Clear on the Consequences. It is so easy to fool ourselves and suck ourselves in with the same old lies. We tell ourselves things like, “just this one last time, I’ll do it tomorrow, or it doesn’t really matter that much.” Getting clear on what the actual consequences are this week, this month, this year can have a profound effect. Remember; gaining one pound per month , 4 oz per weeks = 60 lbs in five years!
Question: What are the long term consequences to not changing this?
3. Decide What You’d Like Instead. Do you chronically overspend? Are you always in debt? Maybe you never have enough energy because of continual lack of sleep? Whatever it is for you, decide what you would like that area of your life to look like instead. Would you like to see your credit cards paid off to zero debt? Be vibrant and energized everyday? There is an old saying, that you can’t create health by focusing on sickness. Get clear on what the healthier picture is for that area of your life.
Question: What do I really want in this area of my life?
4. Commit. Yup! It’s the big “C” word. It’s hard to keep our commitments to others, it’s hard to believe in ourselves and trust ourselves when we don’t keep our commitments that we make to ourselves. Committing to yourself, and keeping your word can be one of the best things you can do for your self-confidence and self-esteem. Healthy self-esteem leads to healthy decisions and choices – in all areas of your life. It can be one of the single best things you do for yourself.
Question: What is one small step that I can commit to in this area of my life?
5. What’s The Alternative? You can’t just “not” do something, you have to do something else instead. So what is an alternative? Want to curb the late night web browsing that keeps you up way to late and sleep deprived? What could you do instead to fill that urge, craving and boredom? Maybe commit to stopping at 10:30 pm and reading one chapter of a book on success, health or finance – something that is really going to move you forward. Reading tends to make us sleepy while electronic gadgets keep us awake. Pick something that suits you and the area of your life you are trying to change.
Question: What can I do instead that would be better for me?
6. Put Structures in Place. So the irresistible ex-boyfriend calls you again late at night. Before you know it you’re once more in the throws of passion and two days later you’re crying. Put a structure in place stronger than your weakest moment. If it’s texting? Block the text messages and erase his number from your phone. Set your phone so it doesn’t ring when he calls or at least turn it off at night. Late night snacking the issue? Remove all bad snack foods from the house and replace them with healthy ones. You get the idea.
Question: What is one structure I can put in place to lessen the likelihood that I’ll give in to temptation?
Breaking old patterns and habits is without a doubt a little challenging; it takes bravery, commitment and courage, but it’s not impossible. Keep in mind that those old patterns served you at one time; they brought you comfort, allowed you ease or kept you safe. But we outgrow our habits like children outgrow their clothes, and do you really want to wear last year’s fashions or the same thing you had on when you were 12? Putting in the time and effort to free yourself from limiting behaviors is an act of self-love. Tweet this! It creates confidence, lifts your self-esteem and allows a clearer path forward. As always, if you need support or guidance, I’m always here.