Over the years I have worked on becoming a complete teetotaler,losing weight, waking up early and much more by changing my habits. This was done more importantly by learning from my failures. I have seen more failures than successes when trying to replace an empowering habit with an dis empowering one. I’ve found failures to be just as important as successes when trying to learn how to improve, especially when it comes to changing habits. It’s not an easy task and I’m sure each one of us has tried to quit something or tried to do something positive and failed. The key, of course, is to not just give up after failure but to reset your resolve, analyze what went wrong and plan to overcome those obstacles the next time. If you are feeling helpless with how you can change your habits, given below are my learning’s on the same –
Biting more than you can chew: We have all done this and taken on more than one habit at a time. We try to master all departments, be it waking up early, eating healthy, having a positive outlook in life etc… I have done this and failed more than a couple of times. Not because my resolve was weak but there was something which did not connect at the sub conscious level when you are working on too many changes. Focus on one or two habit changes at a time and give it your undivided attention.
Write down your habit change goals: As I have always said before, there is magic in when we write down our goals. I have seen on more than a couple of times the universe conspiring against all odds to help us achieve our goals. Recent research has time and again proved that people with written specific goals are more likely to achieve the goals. If you are working on eating healthy, waking up early or any habit you need to change, the first thing is to put it in writing and take a look at it every day. This will reinforce it on to your sub conscious mind. I will cover this in detail in my next post on goal setting which I am working on.
Do not be half committed: Have you done something in life half-heartedly and seen the consequences. It is the same way with habit change. It will not work if you jump into it half heartedly. Instead give it everything you have got and remember that by not changing this habit you are living a far less quality of life. This means committing big time and telling the world about it. If you are on Facebook then post it on your wall, inform your family ,friends and co workers if required. The more people know about it, the better it is for you, because you are giving it a committed effort and at the end of the day that is what matters.
Build a support structure: There will be times when you falter, almost invariably. Who will you turn to when you need encouragement? If you don’t have a good answer to this, you need to think through it. If you are lucky to have a good support structure then its fine otherwise hire a Life Coach who will work with you towards your habit change. The idea here is to have a support structure when you do go through rough patches in your journey. You do not want to falter mid way.
Think through your motivation: What some people call discipline I call motivation. when someone wants to change a habit then he/she needs to be motivated to do it. The bigger purpose needs to be identified which will act as a catalyst. The more reasons for you to be motivated to change the habit then better it is for you and your success. Identify your motivation and always remind yourself of it when facing rough weather.
Anticipate the brick wall: Every habit change is a path littered with obstacles. Unfortunately, when we hit some of these, we often quit. we might try again but when we hit the same obstacles again, we give up. A smarter option will be to do some homework beforehand and anticipate the brick wall in your way. Always expect the obstacles ahead. It will do you a world of good by just being ready to face it. When I was working towards quitting smoking, I knew where my biggest urge would be coming from and avoided it completely. If the purpose of the habit change is embedded within, you will figure out ways to avoid the brick walls.
Be Accountable: Most of the time we do things better if we are accountable to something or somebody.What surprises me, is to see people stay away for a month or two from smoking and drinking during religious times just because they are accountable. Most of my clients have seen tremendous transformation during the coaching sessions. The one reason they say is that they are accountable now and hence more committed.It is probably one of the reason why Coaching is so effective for personnel transformation.
Know your triggers: This is an important key to changing habits. Every habit has at least one trigger — an event that immediately precedes the habit. Some habits have more than one trigger. When I used to smoke, the period immediately after lunch was when the urge to smoke was the strongest. I realized this and worked on the trigger by ensuring that i fixed my meetings immediately after lunch. This was to ensure that I had hardly any time to go out for a smoke especially when people would be waiting for the meeting to commence.
Quitting at the first sign of failure: If you do falter and come face to face with failure do not fret. There is always an other day. Be as consistent as possible from then on out until the habit is ingrained. If you quit, you’ve let the failure beat you. But if you reset your resolve and learn from your failure, the failure then becomes a positive thing that helps you to succeed. As I’ve said before, I always see failures as a stepping stone to success.
Changing my clients habits is the most challenging job especially when they realize that they are living a compromised life due to their habits. Nothing is more fulfilling to a Coach/mentor when someone crosses the abyss and looks back with fulfillment. I hope these words of mine have made you realize that if there is a habit change you are pondering on for a long time then there is someone who has walked the path like you. Do share your thoughts on my Face Fan book page or on my mail Coach@satishrao.in