Be it eliminating something or adding something like losing weight, exercise or stopping smoking we are hopeful that we can in someway better ourselves even if we don’t specifically define how.
When we look to changing habits it might best help to look first at our motivation. Is it self driven or driven by another person’s want for us? What is our motivational level scaled 1-10? Is it low or mediocre—“I am going to try” verses “I am going to” Is there a potential consequence(s) if we make a change(s)? (I won’t be able to go to the donut shop everyday and see my friends who hang there before work or after work I will need to avoid my favorite bar or my breaks at work will be cut short if I am not out there smoking with my friends.) Every action has a reaction. Every change has a consequence. How motivated are we to push through the negative effects in order to make positive changes that will in the look run provide betterment for us?
Habits are powerful…Habits are so powerful that we aren’t even conscious of the hold they have on us. One of the first things that we need to do once we have firmly decided to change a habit is to see what other habits support this one.
For instance, if you want to avoid the morning donut stop then take a different route to work—don’t expect to be able to willpower it through by passing the shop everyday. You may be able to pass it once or twice without problem but after that..? Our brains are wired by our habits so in order to change a habit we need to work on the neuro-nets (neuro-networks) in the brain to assist with this. When we change our habits we create new neuro-networks in the brain that will help support the changes we have made.
Another important thing with changing habits is to realize that we are motivated by positive reinforcement. If you want to give up the donut then we have to replace it with something else. Find another way to work and maybe recruit a friend from the donut shop to join you in setting up a new meeting place let's say at a teashop instead. If you want to give up the smokes then attend a smoking cessation class especially if you enjoy groups or take a coffee break, have a piece of dark chocolate or take a walk instead of smoking a cigarette.
Find out why the habit is ingrained in your behavioral patterns. Is it a sugar craving? Is it the socialization piece that you enjoy most? Is it anxiety? In order to make a change you have to first analyze WIIFM….what’s in it for me to keep the habit and what is in it for me to change the habit. Look at the positive reinforcer(s) of the habit, and how to replace it with something else. Also examine what the consequences is if you don’t change the habit…obesity, diabetes, heart disease, divorce, loss of job, COPD, feeling crappy (low energy)…etc.
For example: I love sugar and need to do a detox of all the sugar I had over the holiday. Luckily I was gifted with a bunch of herbal teas so I am hoping this will help me on my quest to once again minimizing sugar in my diet. Ok…I need to change the language-ing here…I am not only hopeful-- I am on-board and ready!
My motivational level is 6 today. Once I get going my motivational level will continue to rise. I need to detox first. I don't have much sugar in the house right now which should help and being a lifetime member of WW will also assist me as I use their tools to keep me on point! Furthermore, Oprah has a webinar for member's this Thursday night which will provide further motivation to me. Oprah's talks inspire me to stay on plan.
Good luck to you and to me!
(I recommend the The Power of Habit (if you want more detailed info on this).
by DUHIGG, CHARLES