Regardless of the agreed ‘precise’ time it takes, short term challenges are a powerful personal development tool. The magic of trying something new for a limited time gives us freedom and flexibility to try it out but not commit for the long run. And long-term commitment is something we are all afraid of right 😊
The reality is that for most of us who have tried these challenges, we experienced short-lived changes and more often than not marginal results. We start a new exercise or diet program, we commit to a 30-day meditation or 30 days without smoking, sugar, alcohol… fill in the blanks for yourself. We truly want to change or introduce a new habit or behavior we feel can help us but for some mysterious reason – it doesn’t stick…
We start strong, fueled by motivation and will power, and after the first 3-5 days we begin to experience a gradual diminished commitment to our goal and retreat to our old habits while excusing ourselves based on a ‘real’ cause (excuse) of why this one doesn’t work for us or why the timing is not right.
Well if this is you then you’re not alone. Recent research in psychology and human behavior has shown that a high percentage of people are challenged with forming new habits, and even if they succeed it’s difficult to stick with them for the long run.
Psychology and human behavior have always been fascinating to me and along my personal Life Rebuilder journey and being witness to hundreds of others who walked this path I came to realize that there are 3 fundamental drivers for success or failure in implementing new habits.
In this post I will cover the foundation part of the process and provide you with a downloadable journal you can use to identify your habits and keep track of them.
Identify current undesirable habits
We have certain behavior patterns that are so habitual and most often, unconscious in our life that first we need to bring them to light and acknowledge their existence. Without this first step we will be tempted to go straight to ‘doing’ new habits and therein lies the problem. New habits built on a shaky foundation will not last. Temporary results may occur, but they will not last for long. Take inventory of your own previous attempts and see how long they lasted for you.
Understand how current habits affect and shape your life
Understand how current undesirable behavioral patterns and habits affect and shape your life and why you want to change them. You see without a strong enough why, anchored in real understanding of how it affects you and why you want it changed / replaced or introduce new more desirable ones, you are climbing the wrong ladder. It is essential to operate from a clear solid base of understanding as to what they are and why you want to change them. Trying to change habits just because you read it somewhere or someone told you should, will almost always guarantee failure.
Old habits must be first broken
Truth be told we first need to break an old habit and only then can it be replaced with the new desired behavior. Don’t take this the wrong way but it’s a lot like housebreaking a puppy…
If you try to enforce the new behavior on your puppy you’ll create fear and confusion. However, if you gradually introduce it and accompany it with routine, soft energy and understanding – the desired change will take place very quickly.
The process of breaking old habits doesn’t usually receive attention and common advice subscribes to the process of ‘doing’ new habits while in reality the old habit already occupies an important part in our operating system. It’s not just about adding more – think about it like upgrading your computer. You don’t just add components like more memory or a faster processor. You replace the old part with a new one. Same goes for habits. We replace undesirable ones with desirable ones – this is how you upgrade your operating system.
This is part 1 of a 3 part post so make sure you look for part 2 where we’ll explore the success drivers for implementing and executing new habits.
Your ever well wisher
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How to make your day a 10
- Turn around bad days: simple, quick and powerful routines
- Define your 10s: step-by-step guide on how to get clarity on what really moves the needle in your life
- Your 3 big moves: make every moment count
- Small changes: effortlessly implement small changes today!