How many of you want to change in some way? Somehow, I don't think that you 'd be reading this if you were perfectly happy as you are and perfectly happy to stay as you are for the rest of your life.
Most of us would like to eat more healthily, exercise more, work more effectively, have better relationships and have the courage to follow our dreams. But to enable us to achieve these things, we will certainly have some habits to change.
Most of us don't really know how to change habits, but we do know that it's pretty hard, I don't know how many times you've tried and failed to change things in your life, probably many times, yep, again, same as me. And if you've had the same habit for 40 years, then that habit is going to be pretty ingrained.
" Habit is habit, and not to be flung out of the window by any man, but coaxed downstairs a step at a time." - Mark Twain
We have to acknowledge that the task of changing a habit will be difficult and we need to prepare accordingly. Here are some tips to help you increase your chances of success:
How To Change Habits - 14 Tips To Help Create A New You
1. As Mark Twain suggests above; making PERMANENT changes won't be instant or even quick: if you realise and accept that at the start, it can be half the battle.
2. Don't try changing too many habits at the same time: it's best to attempt one at a time and you will be able to put all your energy into that one change The more energy you have available to put in, the more chance you have of success. Once you succeed you can move onto the next one and maybe, eventually, you could even make a habit of changing your habits!
- If you only feel half-hearted about the change that you have decided to make, then you WON'T succeed. If you're just planning to make a change that someone else wants you to make, then it's unlikely that you will have enough desire and drive to succeed with it. Only you know how you feel inside about the changes you have chosen to make.
There will always be a reason not to do what you have set out to do, so ask your friends and family to help keep you on the right path rather than give you excuses to stray from it.
5. Make a plan: write down all the steps that you need to take to make your plan become a reality. If you're trying to lose weight, plan your meals:
What are you going to eat?
What do you need to buy?
What days will you exercise?
6. Give yourself some measurable targets: set dates that you're committed to making certain things happen by, for example: "I will lose 7 pounds in the next two weeks."
7. Accountability: tell your friends and family your goals and report to them at the end of each week. Ask them to ask you about your progress if you haven't volunteered any information to them.
8. Be consistent: this will reinforce your actions and turn them into habits. The longer you do something in a certain way, the more chance it has of staying that way, for example, it's easier if you make certain days your exercise days, otherwise you will tend to drift rather than create a new habit.
9. Think about the obstacles that you WILL face and prepare what you will do when they occur: if you want to keep up an exercise regime, will other commitments such as work or your children get in the way? What will you do if this happens? Are there any arrangements that you can put in place that will still allow you to keep your commitments to your goal. If not, will you be able to swap to another day or will you have an ideal schedule, but a minimum schedule for those weeks where unforeseen circumstances occur?
Keep a note of your progress: it's easy to have a bad week and then to think that you're not doing very well overall, but if you make sure that you keep a note of all your achievements, it will put that bad week into perspective. An easy an effective way to document your progress would be put your results into an Excel spreadsheet.
11. What normally trips you up? Think about the things that are likely to put you off course and write them down. If you are consciously expecting these things to happen then you will recognise them when they do and you are more likely to be able to resist them. If you are working on a presentation for your work or carrying out research for a book or article that you are writing, realise that you may be tempted to surf the net instead or keep checking Facebook or your emails. Resist the temptation to slob out and watch a DVD instead because you feel a bit Good habits tired if you are supposed to be exercising.
12. Visualisation: think of all the bad things that could happen if you don't achieve your goal and all the good things that could happen if you DO achieve it and visualise them. You need to really put yourself off keeping your bad habits as much as you can. If you are trying to give up smoking, research all the awful things that smoking does to you, really re-inforce in your mind how bad it is for you. Think of how nice it will be to have a better chance of a healthy old age and being there and being able to be active with your children and grandchildren. See the images vividly in your mind and use them when you are feeling moments of weakness.
Don't treat yourself in a way that will interfere with your goals. If you're trying to give up smoking, don't treat yourself to a cigarette, choose something else!
14. If you feel you are failing, assess where things are going wrong and you can always adjust your targets if needs be, perhaps you've bitten off more than you can chew and you need to achieve your goals in smaller chunks and with a little more time.
Now that you know HOW to change habits, the other crucial points are that you actually have to follow these tips and not give up! Keep trying and you WILL get there in the end!
Most of us don't really know how to change habits, but we do know that it's pretty hard, I don't know how many times you've tried and failed to change things in your life, probably many times, yep, again, same as me. Don't try changing too many habits at the same time: it's best to attempt one at a time and you will be able to put all your energy into that one change The more energy you have available to put in, the more chance you have of success. Once you succeed you can move onto the next one and maybe, eventually, you could even make a habit of changing your habits!
If you're just planning to make a change that someone else wants you to make, then it's unlikely that you will have enough desire and drive to succeed with it. Only you know how you feel inside about the changes you have chosen to make.