Ever wondered how to change a bad habit? How can some people make the change and others can’t?
How To Change Habits
There is so much to do in life. Changing habits can be overwhelming to some. Most of us know our bad habits but how do we change and how hard will it be?
I recently read the book, The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg. A friend in my men’s Monday morning bible study group had recommended the book to me. He also shared with me a while ago that in order to change a bad habit, you must replace it with another habit. Will power typically does not work with long ingrained habits.
I read the book and would recommend it to others. I would also say not to get overwhelmed and try and make too many changes all at once. Focus on one habit, work to replace that habit and then once you’ve achieved success move on to the next habit. Like anything, finding and celebrating small victories helps give confidence that the work to make the change is achievable and is worth the effort.
You got this. I will share some small habits I’ve changed over time.
- Creamer – I used to put creamer in my coffee. I thought to myself if I drink my coffee black think of all the creamer I will not have put in my body.
- Thin bread – you hear over and over to stay away from carbs. I have two eggs over easy every morning and used to have it over thin bread. I decided to eat the eggs without bread and decided to saute spinach instead. Think about all the carbs saved in a year from that one decision.
- Bible – I used to have my bible in my dresser next to my bed. I wanted to read it but found one excuse after another. Then one day I moved the bible into my office. Now I see it and more days than not I start my business day in my office by reading a chapter of the bible.
I made these changes before reading this book and for the most part have created these new habits.
So what did I learn in this book?
This book did a good job of explaining that habits are made up of a habit loop. The habit loop starts with a cue, that leads to a routine, that leads to a reward. If you can identify the cue, then you can change the routine to receive the reward.
There was an example in the book about someone that had a long standing habit of biting their nails. It was recommended to carry an index card where ever the person went and every time the person had the urge to bite their nails, simply put a check mark on the index card. Over time this person starting to identify when she felt the urge to bite her nails. Next the person was to create a new routine whenever she felt that urge. She was to do something that produced a physical response. Different options were presented such as rubbing her arm or rapping her knuckles on the desk. She was then asked to put a hash mark next to each check on the index card every time she was successful in changing up the routine. She rewarded herself by going for a manicure. After a month the habit was gone and replaced with the new routine.
Why do I share this story with you?
Momentum builds on itself. Start small and then start adding on. Over time you will see that your habits will change, you will start becoming more focused on creating habits that help you achieve your goals in life. Yes it can be hard work to retrain your brain, retrain your habits but the rewards are well worth the effort. You got this!
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