Let’s be honest, deep inside, we know all too well that we have at least one unpleasant habit that is hindering ourselves from becoming our best self. This can be anything from smoking, eating too much junk food to procrastinating. Yet, even after owning up to these habits, we can’t seem to get ourselves to kick them to the curb.
Along the way, we inevitably find ourselves accepting these habits as a part of who we are. The truth is, this so called “acceptance” is a form of a self preservation mechanism we use to prevent ourselves from having to go through more disappointments which we experience every time we make a failed attempt at cracking the habits. No matter how much we struggled to make a change, it seemed that we always end up relapsing and retreating to the comfort of our vices which leads us to the question “why do we even bother?”.
One possible reason as to why our attempts haven’t been successful is that we believe that our bad habits, in one way or another, bring us more pleasure than pain. Here’s an example: we may opt for that extra slice of chocolate cake even though we though we vowed to eat more healthily because we believe that the pleasure from eating the cake outweighs the pain of say – that extra pound on our waistline. Hence, it may be worthwhile to evaluate just how ready and committed we are to making the change. Two of the questions you can ask yourself is how have the bad habits “serve” you – meaning have they given you comfort, momentary joy or perhaps an escape? and what are you afraid of losing when you no longer have the habits? Dig deep within yourselves and answer truthfully, then decide that whatever pleasure the bad habits give you, it pales in comparison to the pleasure you’ll get in kicking the bad habits once and for all.
Once you declare yourself truly ready to make the commitment to change, the next step is to find strategies to increase the likelihood of follow through and create a greater chance to make the change stick. One strategy that has been particularly helpful for me is one shared by Todd Herman, the founder of The Peak Athlete, a peak performance coaching and research company that caters to some of the world’s best athletes and leading executives. He explained that in order to make a lasting change, we would need to have specific and vividly clear visions on how it would look like when we follow through with the change i.e: feeling more fit, becoming healthier etc. Really imagine what success or attaining the goal would look for you for example, if your goal is to become more fit, imagine yourself finishing a marathon with a breeze, having more energy to live life and fitting to those “skinny” jeans you’ve been saving all these years. By visualizing the end goal clearly, you will more likely to feel excited about committing to what it takes to make the change and make it stick. Todd also suggested to break down our end goals into micro-goals called trigger goals, they are essentially the actions that we need to take in order to accomplish the ultimate goals. Say you’d like to start a new exercise regimen of hitting the gym 4 times a week, an example of a trigger goal could be making a promise to change into your workout gear 4 times a week. Once you have your workout clothes on, you’ll find that you are much more likely to follow through with stepping out and hitting the gym.
What I love about the 2 simple approaches above is because not only it provides a sense of certainty to the journey towards the end goals, it brings excitement to the process of change which makes it less daunting or overwhelming. Why don’t you give them a try? Perhaps they’re just the tricks you need to release your bad habits and be well on your way to becoming the best you yet.
Between how it is and how it should be
Between who you are and who you could be…
…is what you do.